Neema Kudva

Neema Kudva's research focuses on small cities and their regions, and on institutional structures for equitable planning and development. She has explored various aspects of these issues primarily in South Asia but also in the U.S., and across the world, with students. She is involved in pedagogical experiments around citizenship and sustainability planning and is faculty lead for the Nilgiris Field Learning Center, Kotagiri, a transdisciplinary engaged collaboration between Cornell and the Keystone Foundation, India.

At Cornell, Kudva is associate dean of the faculty, and house professor and dean at Becker House, a living-learning residential community. She serves as faculty affiliate of the South Asia Program, a fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, and as a field member for public affairs, global development, south asian studies, and visual studies. Prior to joining Cornell in 2001, Kudva worked as a consultant to public planning agencies in the San Francisco Bay area, and as an architect in India and Europe.

Kudva received her Dip.Arch. from the school of architecture, CEPT, at Ahmedabad, India, in 1989; and her M.Arch./M.C.P. and Ph.D. from the University of California–Berkeley in 2001.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Community-based planning and development
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure planning
  • International studies in planning
  • NGOs
  • Participatory and collaborative planning
  • Social policy
  • Sustainability
  • Mobility

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Classes (Selected)

  • CRP 5190 Urban TheoryWe live in the age of the city. At some point early in the twenty-first century, the majority of the world's population became urban and the bulk of all growth in the future is expected to occur in the global South - a vast geographical and conceptual space where some of the world's most ancient cities continue to thrive. This graduate seminar seeks to you to a body of work on the cities of the global South, their diversity, growth and change starting in the early twentieth century. Drawing on a large interdisciplinary literature, we will consider the different ways in which scholars and researchers have sought to conceptualize and understand processes of city-building in the global South.
  • CRP 6150 Current Debates on NGOsThis seminar examines a range of topics that are key to understanding nongovernmental (NGO) and private sector, nonprofit organization's actions and outcomes: their effectiveness at service provision and advocacy; their political role in constructing social capital and strengthening civil society; their relationship with the state and donor agencies; and issues related to organizational design for success. The intention is to gain a broad-based understanding of NGO actors, both as they stand today and in their development over the past four decades. The emphasis throughout will be to critically evaluate the literature, research, and accounts on NGOs as both institutional actors in the development arena and as bounded organizations at the local level: a task that is complicated by the heterogeneity of contexts and organizational types.   
  • CRP 3850 Planning and Sustainability, the Case of the Nilgiris Biosphere (NFLC, Kotagiri, India)

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Senior long term research fellow, American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Chicago and Delhi (spring and summer 2017)
  • Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Advising Award, Cornell University (2015)
  • "Stories of Solidarity: experiencing COVID in the global South" Engaged Opportunity Grant (2020)
  • "Continuing Curricular Development for Engaged Research and Learning at the Nilgiris Field Learning Center in Ithaca, NY and Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India" Engaged Curriculum Developement Grant with Steven Wolf, Andrew Willford, and Lucinda Ramberg (Cornell), Carol Babiracki and Emera Bridger (Syracuse), Pratim Roy, Anita Varghese and Jyotsna Krishnakumar (Keystone Foundation, India( (2019)
  • "Ecological Learning Collaboratory for Food, Healing, and Spatial Justice," workshop with Stacey Langwick, anthropology; and Rachel Bezner-Kerr, development sociology. Support from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Engaged Cornell, and Small Grants Fund at the Institute for Social Sciences at Cornell (2018)
  • "Urban South Asia Writ Small," an interdisciplinary conference (with Dan Gold, Asian studies, Cornell University; Ann Gold, anthropology, Syracuse University; and Carol Babiracki, art and music histories, Syracuse University). Support from the NRC Syracuse-Cornell South Asia Consortium funded by U.S. Department of State, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and CRP (2018)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • "Pedagogy, Research and Small City Urbanization: Theorizing through Engagement in the Nilgiris Field Learning Center (NFLC)," Lectures in Planning series, GSAPP, Columbia University, New York City (March 2019)
  • "The Ecological Learning Collaboratory," with colleagues from Cornell, Tanzania, Malawi, and India. Terra Madre-Salone de Gusto, Turin, Italy (September 2018)
  • "Work in Progress, Water and Waste in the Nilgiris," French Institute of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India (June 2017)
  • "Small City Urbanization, Two Indian Case Studies," Center of Urban Studies and Urban Planning, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (April 2017)
  • "The Future of Cities," A presentation with George 'Mac' McCarthy, president, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York (August 2016)

Publications (Selected)

  • Subramanyam, Nidhi and Neema Kudva. (2020, in press), "Acquiescence in the face of dispossession: The case of Mahindra World City Economic Zone, Tamil Nadu, India" Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space.
  • Steven Wolf, Neema Kudva, Anita Varghese, Andrew Willford, Snehlata Nath, Pratim Roy, and Rebecca Stoltzfus. "Slow conservation in the Nilgiris Field Learning Center: an integrative model of education, research, and practice." Current Conservation 12, no. 4, 2018.
  • Neema Kudva. "The Future City: Critical Interventions for Equity, Debate 3." In Informal Urbanisms: Emergent Approaches to Urban Transformation, ed. Kyle Farrell, from "Debates on Urbanism," series ed. Tigran Haas, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Helsinki: Opus Liberum, 2018.
  • Neema Kudva. "Small Cities, Big Issues: Indian Cities in the Debates on Urban Poverty and Inequality." In Cities and Inequalities in a Global and Neoliberal World, eds. Faranak Miraftab, Ken Salo, and David Wilson, London and New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • Faranak Miraftab and Neema Kudva. Cities of the Global South Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 2015.
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