The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has uncovered glaring vulnerabilities in the urban design frameworks and law enforcement mechanisms of cities and other townships in India. The Epidemic Diseases Act has enabled a brutal lockdown by law enforcement authorities across states even as social distancing has remained elusive in urban townships due to the inherent design flaws and population density. Dr. Shiben Banerji, Professor for art history and urban design at the Art Institute of Chicago, in a wide-ranging conversation with Taarush Kishore Jain, explores these themes, citing examples of Kerala and Dharavi to elucidate his opinions. He also shares his sentiments on the mass communication campaigns by the Prime Minister during the lockdown and suggests modifications to the Centre-State relationship in India.
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