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19th ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU)

Sustainable Urbanisation in Heritage Cities

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
9-21 August 2015 Education Department ASEF Summer University Education

Pune, India

The 19th ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU) took place on 9-21 August 2015 at Symbiosis International University, Pune, India. It addressed the multifaceted and complex challenges stemming from rapid urbanisation, which is increasingly visible across both Asia and Europe. Cities are home to more than 50% of the world's population and face a plethora of issues such as social inequity, poor governance, underemployment, congestion and pollution. Heritage cities face an additional particular predicament: that of building synergies between economic development and heritage conservation to ensure sustainable urbanisation.

ASEFSU offered a solution-centred platform for exchange of ideas and practices while engaging in intercultural collaboration addressing urbanisation and protection of cultural heritage. In particular the project aimed to:

  • Facilitate dialogue and on-site projects that connect the participants and the local community
  • Train the participants to enhance their creative thinking and hands-on skills by offering a programme which integrates social, economic, environmental, technological and artistic elements 
  • Create models and software prototypes for the local community which enhance heritage preservation in the process of urbanisation (e.g. mobile applications, websites, business plans, open source codes, etc.)
  • Produce an e-publication and multimedia online-databank which include best practises, recommendations and the deliverables from the project

The topic of the future of cities sits high on the cultural agenda of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), as evidenced by the focus of the recently held 6th ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meetings (ASEM CMM6).  ASEFSU addressed this ASEM priority and also built on ASEF’s previous work on urban heritage management including ASEF Experts’ Meetings and Public Forums on:


Funded by the European Union

Project Updates

  • The new ASEFUAN Executive Committee

    Published on 05 Oct 2015

    Photo credit: Mr David Frogier DE PONLEVOY, an ASEFUAN member

    The ASEF University Alumni Network (ASEFUAN) has a new Executive Committee (ExCo). During the 14th ASEFUAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 14-16 August 2015 in Broek, the Netherlands, 643 members of the network elected their representatives for the year 2015-16. The new ExCo members from 9 different ASEM countries are:

    • Mr Bram BUIJS (Netherlands, 13th ASEF University, ASEFUAN President)
    • Mr Tim GOUDRIAAN (Netherlands, 16th ASEF University, Vice-President)
    • Mr Dani MADRID-MORALES (Spain,  11th ASEF University)
    • Ms Anna BARÁTH (Hungary, 16th ASEF University)
    • Mr Vincent CHOY (Singapore, 9th ASEF University)
    • Ms Elena MOZGOVAYA (Russian Federation, 18th ASEF University)
    • Mr Rahmat Hidayat HM (Indonesia, 18th ASEF University)
    • Mr Adhi WONGKHIEO (Thailand, 8th ASEF University)
    • Ms Julia OLSZEWSKA (Poland, 18th ASEF University)
    • Ms Kaori KUME (Japan, 13th ASEF University)

    Alongside the AGM, a second ASEFUAN meeting took place in Bangkok, Thailand allowing all ASEFUAN members in Asia to come together.

    ASEFUAN AGMs are an opportunity for the alumni from all ASEF University batches to meet, re-connect and consult on internal affairs and upcoming joint activities. Since 2002, when former ASEF University Alumni founded the network, it has been a tradition to organise such meetings andcontribute through various Asia-Europe activities to a vibrant dialogue on ASEM matters among the young ASEM generation.

  • Dr Jyoti CHANDIRAMANI is the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Symbiosis International University in Pune, India. Together with her university team, she hosts the 19th ASEF Summer University on Sustainable Urbanisation in Heritage Cities. ASEF interviewed her to know her views on the project’s topic.

    Q. Where do you see the difference in how ‘rapid urbanisation’ impacts on heritage in Europe and Asia?

    At the current rate of urbanisation in Europe (72%) and Asia (46%), the coming years will witness the countryside of Europe urbanising at a dizzy pace, leading to a rural-urban continuum, while Asia will emerge as the mainstay of future urbanisation trends. The built heritage of Europe will be challenged by factors such as urbanisation, environment-related issues (climate change), and rising public debt.  Additional allocation of resources for heritage preservation will need to be balanced against resources required for pensioners, healthcare and education.  In the Asian context, with the impact of globalisation and internationalisation, intangible heritage will be diffused with a mix of unrecognisable outcomes. Thus there will be increasing pressure on both the continents to safeguard the identity and continuity of the richness of their heritage – both built and intangible. Deliberations with multiple perspectives will be needed to address the plethora of complex issues involved.

    Q. When it comes to integrating heritage in the process of urbanisation, how do some cities seem to 'get it right’? What is your favourite example in Pune where heritage preservation and sustainable urbanisation are happening hand-in-hand?

    Cities and nations are on different stages of social evolution. We must remember that the town – city is not our natural habitat. We are adapting and evolving based on the priorities of existence. While the high and middle income nations with a higher level of education and awareness have the capacity to incorporate the cultural and heritage aspects in their future urban plans, the challenges faced by low and lower middle income economies are more about jobs, livelihood, housing, mobility issues and catering to basic needs of the urban poor. Therefore, awareness, preservation and enhancing the culture and heritage of a city are not accorded high priority in urban planning in low and lower middle income nations.

    Preserving the historical core of Pune city for the future generation has been gravely neglected.  “Tambats” (coppersmiths) are traditional craftsmen of Pune, making copperware for over 400 years, from the time of the Peshwa rulers. However, in recent years, demand for their ware has fallen, mainly due to changes in lifestyle. With the timely intervention of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) and the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives of Forbes Marshal and others, this fading craft has been revived with the infusion of seed capital, enabling production to reach a wider audience, making the craft of copperware sustainable in the long run.

    Q. The 19th ASEF Summer University is bringing together 51 students from 51 ASEM countries at your university. What advice would you give to our young leaders, who might in future be in charge of urban planning?

    The ASEF Summer University programme will provide you with an opportunity to undertake an experiential study of Pune, the 9th most populous city in India with its boundaries poised to expand. The case studies identified and selected under the context of sustainable  urbanisation of Pune – in the backdrop of its heritage -- will help you understand the transition from a traditional city with just 17 Peths (localities) established during the Maratha and Peshwa regimes in the 17th-19th century AD, to the present day sprawling urban centre and its challenges. It will provide the scholars an opportunity to put to test your ideas, views and skill sets, which will be experienced during the hackathon session.  The take away from the Pune experience will enrich the scholars to address equally complex issues that exist in most cities of South Asia. 

  • Where does heritage stand in sustainable urbanisation? How can the “future” city include space for the “past”?  The 19th ASEF Summer Universitywill address the multifaceted and complex challenges emerging from rapid urbanisation and seek solutions for a “Sustainable Urbanisation in Heritage Cities” in Asia and Europe.

    Send in your application and get selected to join the 2-week programme from 9-21 August 2015, in Pune, India!

    You could be part of the following highlights:

    • A solution-centred platform to exchange ideas and practices through dialogue sessions and hands-on workshops
    • A collaborative hack-a-thon to create digital prototypes, social impact models, and business plans
    • An e-publication and multimedia online-databank, co-written by you and your fellow participants, including best practises, recommendations and deliverables for target groups in Asia and Europe

    Stand your chance to showcase your talent, develop solutions and produce a means of change for your city. Accommodation costs and meals are provided for the course of the event together with travel subsidies.

    The application is closed.

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