The Institute of Urbanology learns from its environment while contributing to its improvement. Its research is intended to be directly relevant to the localities where it works as well as anyone interested in urban development and neighborhood life.
Urbanology is defined as the understanding of incremental developmental processes and daily practices in any given locality through direct engagement with people and places. The institute contributes to the debate on urban development by engaging with local community groups, creating new concepts, implementing projects and recommending strategies and policies.
The Institute sharpened its methodology through years of fieldwork in New York, Bogota, Tokyo, Istanbul, New Delhi, Goa and Mumbai. It has offices in Dharavi, Mumbai and Aldona, Goa. In Dharavi, the Institute studies homegrown practices in the fields of housing, artisanship and trade, and physical and theoretical spaces where these fields converge. In Goa, it looks at the transforming role of villages within larger economic, cultural, ecological and urban systems.
The Institute of Urbanology regularly organizes seminars and workshops that bring together local actors, activists, artists, architects and urbanists. It uses art, architecture, story telling, and other creative means of expression to stimulate debates and intervention in the urban realm. It uses the web as well as live events to document, convene, produce and diffuse diverse modes of development.
The Institute of Urbanology is a registered Trust in the State of Goa. Its trustees are James Ferreira, Frederick Noronha and Abhay Sardesai. Its advisors include Amitav Ghosh and Yehuda E. Safran.
The Institute of Urbanology signed research partnerships with the Laboratory for Urban Sociology (LASUR) at the Swiss Intitute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, and the Max Plank Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Germany.