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Taru Taru

Ph.D. Student in Urban Planning

Taru’s work primarily situates itself in international and post-colonial territories and is deeply engaged with normative planning theories and their application in places with plural institutions, structural violence, and difference. Her current dissertation focuses on the role plural institutions and community networks can play to effectively address disaster- specifically looking at COVID response in ordinary cities. Taru is currently engaged with the Jharkhand State Control Room, while the state sought to rescue more than 1.5 million migrant workers, as well as the health-based, and socio-economic concerns among the transient and vulnerable populations within the state. This research builds substantively on her master’s thesis, which examined the roles social movements and civil society play in service delivery and everyday governance, especially in areas facing structural violence and conflict.

In addition to urban governance, her research interests also encompass informality, legal pluralism and land use in post-colonial cities. She has completed a Masters of Regional Planning from AAP, and a Sustainable Global Enterprise Immersion from SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University; and a Certificate in African Studies, LSA, University of Michigan, focusing primarily on African Cities. She has worked on informal settlements in India and Ghana, primarily focusing on land use, plural property regimes and urban policy and received IISF-RIRA Grant to pursue this work. During 2019-2020, Taru worked as a researcher with the International Planning Case Study Project, engaging with questions of planning pedagogy and international planning. Currently, a Research Associate with Detroit River Stories Lab, she is focusing on issues of inclusion, intersectionality, and policy, in the context of  the Great Lakes, and Detroit River. Taru has also served as an instructor-on-record at the University of Michigan, where she taught Global and Comparative Planning (Winter 2020), and as an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Jamia Millia Islamia (2012-2013), New Delhi, and National Institute of Technology (2017), Patna, India. She has also served as a Graduate Student Instructor at University of Michigan and at Cornell University.

Beyond academia, as a licensed architect in India, Taru has worked with various firms, and has collaborated with other planners and designers, primarily as a consultant on projects in India, Ghana and Uganda. Her work has won several awards, most notably HUDCO’s Green Building Award in India, for her bioclimatic project with Anangpur Building Centre. She also received Peter B. Andrews Memorial Thesis Prize, and Portman Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Physical Planning from Cornell University; as well as several research fellowships, including Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship and K.C. Mahindra Education Fellowship. 

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Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning