The Making Good Podcast


Nature & culture in rapidly densifying Indian cities, with Prof Harini Nagendra

Ep. 17

Harini Nagendra is Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University in Karnataka, India. Her work explores the evolving relationship between people and nature in Indian cities, with publications including Nature in the City, Bengalaru in the Past, Present and Future (2016) and Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities(2019). We explored the way that ancient and more recent human activity helped shape the region's ecology and in particular the way that Bangalore's development has been informed by the need to manage scarce water resources - but also how the particularities of indigenous culture have lent a deeper everyday connection with and understanding of nature - and what (and how) we can learn from the way these challenges are being met.

Talking points

- the role nature in rapidly urbanising countries/densifying cities

- animism and the spiritual connection with nature

- how to engage with indigenous approaches to ecology, and how they improve upon colonial attitudes 

- ecological memory and forgetting in indian cities

- how resource (water) scarcity and human activity to compensate for it has shaped Karnataka’s ecology and the regions’ priorities for modern GI interventions

- medicine, food and scent as drivers of our experience of nature in the city

- why citizen restoration movements rather than municipalities are the key drivers of ecological enhancement 

- how the pandemic story is unfolding in India, and the implications for social urban development


Prof Harini Nagendra - @HariniNagendra

Robin Hobbs - Farseer Trilogy via

The Nature of Cities

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