SMUS India 2023 Conference Report

The 3rd International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (SMUS Conference India 2023) was held at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee, India) from 20th to 26th February 2023. The conference which was also the “3rd RC33 Regional Conference Asia: India”, is a part of Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS). The conference, was held in collaboration with the Research Committee on “Logic and Methodology in Sociology” (RC33) of the “International Sociology Association” (ISA) and the Research Network “Quantitative Methods” (RN21) of the European Sociology Association” (ESA).

The SMUS Conference India 2023 was conceptualized by the Directors of the conference, Prof. Nina Baur and Prof. Angela Million from Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) along with Prof. Gaurav Raheja as Convener, Prof. Manish Kumar Asthana and Prof. Shubhajit Sadhukhan as Co-conveners from IIT Roorkee with an intent to take forward the series of conferences and expand the reach of GCSMUS in the Global South. India, being a country of many renowned advocates of education and research across the world, has emerged as a hotspot of revolutionary studies and innovations in the past few decades. This makes India, one of the best suited destinations to host the 3rd International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability in the Global South. As the conference aims to act as a medium to strengthen the Research network between Global North and Global South, the SMUS Conference India, was envisaged as a platform to provide a common ground for knowledge exchange and establish long lasting collaborations in the related fields.

This conference was a result of a diligent collaboration between IIT Roorkee with TU Berlin and was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The team from the Department of Architecture and Planning and the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences on behalf of IIT Roorkee and the team from GCSMUS on behalf of TU Berlin remained the key drivers to plan the organization of this conference from start to finish. The team strived to provide an engaging experience to the scholars from all around the world with shared knowledge and perspectives on multifaceted research themes.

The six-day conference aimed at continuing a global dialogue on methods, it attracted methodologists from all over the world and all social and spatial sciences e. g. anthropology, area studies, architecture, communication studies, computational sciences, digital humanities, educational sciences, geography, historical sciences, humanities, landscape planning, philosophy, psychology, sociology, urban design, urban planning, traffic planning and environmental planning.

The conference received an enormous response with over 180 abstract submissions from across 31 countries. The conference intended to provide a platform to facilitate lively interactions among the participants, methodologists, researchers, and young academicians to exchange ideas on ongoing studies and future collaborative research opportunities.

The Conference was funded and supported by the DAAD Exceed Programme. It was, therefore, a great honour for us to welcome Dr Katja Lasch, Director, DAAD Regional Office, New Delhi and Ms. Shikha Sinha, Senior Advisor- International Cooperation at the Conference Opening Ceremony held on 23rd February 2023. Prof. K.K. Pant, Director, IIT Roorkee was the Chief Guest for the ceremony. Additionally, Mr. Hitesh Vaidya, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and Ms. Anita Sarmah, Financial Advisor, Indian Railways graced the occasion as Guests of Honor. They also participated in the other conference activities along with other guests.

This report provides an overview to the SMUS Conference India 2023 which was simultaneously the “3rd RC33 Regional Conference Asia: India”, held at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee, India) from 20th to 26th February 2023. The prime objective of detailing out the sequence of activities at the conference is to summarize and in turn, analyze the overall performance of this project, which is funded through DAAD Exceed programme. In order to evaluate the success of its targets and setting up a benchmark as the first on-site conference in the series, the report is a short compilation of the conference activities and intends to throw light on the overall achievements under various events held at the conference and its reflection in both, statistical terms and on-site experience.