Socio-ecological systems, and histories of water infrastructure in Bengaluru
Hita's talk was structured in two parts. In the first, she described some of her previous work on the transformation of a prominent lake in her hometown of Bengaluru into the city's central bus terminus between the mid 1800's and the present day. She narrated how the prioritization of western technocratic ideals of hygiene and sanitation slowly alienated people from a resource that was integral to their lives and livelihoods. And further how this alienation paved the way for eventual repurposing of the lake into other forms of built infrastructure - namely the bus terminus. This part of her talk was based on a paper she co-authored in 2020 with her colleagues Prof. Harini Nagendra, B. Manjunatha, and Prof. Vanesa Castan Broto in Urban Geography. The paper may be accessed here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02723638.2019.1709756
In the second part of her talk, she went on to describe her ongoing efforts with colleagues towards developing a standardised diagnostic protocol to unpack the dynamics of mid to large scale social ecological systems in such a way as to enable comparison across diverse case studies. The paper based on this work is currently under review.
The talk was well attended and generated significant interest among undergraduate students of the department in the audience.