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The Centre for Conscious Design

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The first chapter of Conscious Guwahati at Conscious Cities Festival 2021 explores the perceived challenges of the city space; how indigenous housing, building structures, and corners are relevant for the community’s well-being; the status of sustainable designs in the city and the designing spaces that promote gender equity. Session 1 is a virtual tete-a-tete with Aishwarya Narayana (Director of R & D at the Centre for Conscious Design and the Director of Strategy for Conscious Design Kalpa) and Maria Monica Selvaraj (Architect and Urban Researcher; Community Engagement and Communications Lead for the Centre for Conscious Design; Director for Operations and Chapter lead for Conscious Design Kalpa) about their thoughts on what Conscious Cities are, theme development for this year’s CCF, how the city chapters have evolved in time with a specific focus on Conscious Bengaluru. Session 2 is an interview with Avinibesh Sharma, who is a professional art conservator-restorer working for Tata Trusts Art Conservation Initiative and Founder of Vintage Assam. His efforts in creating empathetic spaces within the city echo connecting intergenerational through heritage storytelling. He mentions the restoration of his ancestral house in Majkuri Village, where his grandfather’s radio room has been converted into a study room for children and community get-togethers. As a person and a professional, he is actively ensuring that accessibility to Vintage Assam resources remains equal to all with only a click away through phones. Session 3 is a conversation with Ranjib Baruah, who is a Principal Architect and Managing Partner at Designers Plenum. He has been practising in Guwahati for 32 years. Baruah has completed and engaged in heritage conservation works such as Chandrakanta Handique Bhawan at Jorhat, Four Heritage Buildings of Cotton College, and Christ Church of Panbazaar Guwahati in 2016-17. R. Baruah extends his thoughts on how more open spaces can be created in Guwahati, some solutions to inflated main arteries of the city, on sustainable lifestyle, and on balancing a fast urbanizing Guwahati with a unique identity shaped by sustainable options. Conscious Guwahati Chapter Representative, Shravani Bhattacharyya a Psychologist and Psychotherapist, shares pilot findings from a preliminary City Perception Questionnaire that she is developing. The questionnaire gathers responses directly from the residents living in Guwahati.

Conceptualizing a Conscious Guwahati: Conscious Cities Festival 2021

Shravani Bhattacharyya is a Psychologist working towards the health and well-being of both people and places. Her research interest is at the intersection of environmental spaces and Mental Health, specifically rapid urbanizing spaces, place attachment, belongingness, urban open spaces, residential spaces and global concerns such as accelerated climate change.

Her academic background includes an MSc. in Clinical Psychology from Christ University, Bengaluru; a BA (Hons) in Psychology from Daulat Ram College, University of Delhi and a PGD in Urban Planning and Development from IGNOU, Delhi. She uncovered her interest in the dynamic interaction of people and space through her Master’s thesis work on qualitative explorations into rapid urban changes and their associations with Mental Health and Well-Being. In 2022, her research article, “Exploring Human Connections with Living Spaces during the Covid-19 Pandemic” was featured in Culture Hong Kong edition, China Daily.  She has been actively presenting her work at interdisciplinary international conferences focusing on topics from Environmental Psychology, Sustainability and Well-being since 2019.

As a  Chapter Representative of Conscious Guwahati with The CCD, she explored the importance of heritage identities of cities on the community’s well-being and solution-focused responses to city challenges from city residents’ perspectives in 2021. Her affiliation with The Centre for Conscious Design also inspired her to further explore the uses, satisfaction and improvement suggestions from the community on Open Spaces in Guwahati as a Project in Urban Planning and Development.

Shravani works through a phenomenological,  salutogenic and trauma-aware lens to support people in being conscious of the connections with their environment that can potentiate their move towards Health & Well-Being.

Itai is a practicing architect, researcher, and multidisciplinary artist focusing on the relationship between people and place. He is the Founder of The Centre for Conscious Design, and Director of Hume – a Science-Informed architecture and urban design practice.

In 2015, Itai founded the Conscious Cities movement; a new field of research and practice for building environments that are aware and responsive, using data analysis, AI, tech, and science-informed design. For his work in advancing changes in the design profession, he was named by Metropolis Magazine as one of 2020’s ‘Game Changers’ in transformative ideas in Health, Social Justice, Technology, and Urbanism.

Itai carries out thought leadership and advisory roles in a number of other research and policy bodies, contributing to strategies that focus on systems change and the promotion of design as a socially conscious profession.

His work and writing has been featured internationally and he is a regular speaker at events focused on the built environment and human impact.

The first chapter of Conscious Guwahati at Conscious Cities Festival 2021 explores the perceived challenges of the city space; how indigenous housing, building structures, and corners are relevant for the community’s well-being; the status of sustainable designs in the city and the designing spaces that promote gender equity. Session 1 is a virtual tete-a-tete with Aishwarya Narayana (Director of R & D at the Centre for Conscious Design and the Director of Strategy for Conscious Design Kalpa) and Maria Monica Selvaraj (Architect and Urban Researcher; Community Engagement and Communications Lead for the Centre for Conscious Design; Director for Operations and Chapter lead for Conscious Design Kalpa) about their thoughts on what Conscious Cities are, theme development for this year’s CCF, how the city chapters have evolved in time with a specific focus on Conscious Bengaluru. Session 2 is an interview with Avinibesh Sharma, who is a professional art conservator-restorer working for Tata Trusts Art Conservation Initiative and Founder of Vintage Assam. His efforts in creating empathetic spaces within the city echo connecting intergenerational through heritage storytelling. He mentions the restoration of his ancestral house in Majkuri Village, where his grandfather’s radio room has been converted into a study room for children and community get-togethers. As a person and a professional, he is actively ensuring that accessibility to Vintage Assam resources remains equal to all with only a click away through phones. Session 3 is a conversation with Ranjib Baruah, who is a Principal Architect and Managing Partner at Designers Plenum. He has been practising in Guwahati for 32 years. Baruah has completed and engaged in heritage conservation works such as Chandrakanta Handique Bhawan at Jorhat, Four Heritage Buildings of Cotton College, and Christ Church of Panbazaar Guwahati in 2016-17. R. Baruah extends his thoughts on how more open spaces can be created in Guwahati, some solutions to inflated main arteries of the city, on sustainable lifestyle, and on balancing a fast urbanizing Guwahati with a unique identity shaped by sustainable options. Conscious Guwahati Chapter Representative, Shravani Bhattacharyya a Psychologist and Psychotherapist, shares pilot findings from a preliminary City Perception Questionnaire that she is developing. The questionnaire gathers responses directly from the residents living in Guwahati.