Team UDC

VIDHYA MOHANKUMAR | Founder and Principal

Vidhya Mohankumar is an architect and urban designer with over 15 years of work experience in India, Ireland and the United States. Her work is focused on creating cities that are people-oriented and centred around transit as part of a sustainable development agenda that she is passionate about. Her approach is driven by research that is grounded and intersectional as a way to understand the everyday urbanism of cities.
With clientele ranging from state governments, urban local bodies, county/town councils, private sector entities and NGOs, her urban design projects exhibit a wide variety with master plans for cities, towns, station areas, harbour areas and their environs as well as redevelopment plans for town centres, city public spaces and brownfield sites. She has also been involved in several strategic planning projects, regional plans, local area plans, campus master plans and urban design studies for existing developments in various cities around the world.
Most recently, in 2019, she was appointed as a technical expert on ‘Public Open Spaces’ by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) to mentor Smart City Projects in Hubli-Dharwad and Agartala under the CITIIS Challenge.
In addition, she has been advocating sustainable development practices as a guest faculty at various universities in India for the past 12 years.
Vidhya received a masters degree in urban design with distinction from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA and a bachelors degree in architecture from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli, India.

SRIVARDHAN RAJALINGAM | Senior Associate

Srivardhan is an architect whose interest lies in making cities that are people-centric and sustainable while being conscious of the history and culture of that place. He is extremely passionate about place making and believes strongly in spreading public awareness through community participation in order to make liveable cities. Prior to his association with UDC, he worked to create sustainable playscapes in multiple cities and rural areas in India thus transforming unused spaces into vibrant public realms. He graduated from McGan’s Ooty school of Architecture and has served as President of the National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA) – the only student body of its kind and scale across the globe.
At UDC, Srivardhan is involved closely in all projects from conceptualization to implementation. He is also the India Project Coordinator for the Observation & Action Network Grants Program launched jointly with UDC, The Center for the Living City and NASA India.

ABINAYA RAJAVELU | Senior Associate

Abinaya is a passionate urbanist with a keen interest in creating people-centric cities. She received a Masters degree in Urban and regional planning from the University of Tours, France and Bachelors in Architecture from SRM University, India. Abinaya strongly believes that collaborative and participatory methods play a major role in the creation of sustainable and lively cities. Over the past three years, she has worked with several local communities, institutions and organizations in a multitude of projects that hinge on public awareness and participation, data based sustainable city development and art in the city building process.

VIDHYA VENKATESAN | Associate

Vidhya is an artist and architect. She enjoys creating nature inspired art and collaboratively working with children on art. She has an undergraduate degree in architecture from SRM University, Chennai and completed a summer school on ‘art and the city’ from Innes, Vienna. She firmly believes that only a responsible lifestyle that goes hand in hand with nature is the path to a sustainable future and enjoys volunteering for initiatives that stand for sustainability and inclusivity. When away from work, you can probably find her at the beach.
At UDC, among other things, Vidhya anchors the Observe Program as a Jane Jacobs Fellow to enable the voices of the youth to lead local and global action in the places they care about.

JAYASHREE CHANDRASEKARAN | Associate

Jayashree is an avid and voracious urban designer and architect. She has completed her masters in Urban design from School of planning and architecture, Bhopal. Her specialisation has provided her with an edge and ability to work across different scales and analyse spaces within the cities through various lenses. She treasures the influential ability of designers in creating better living environments that are sensitized to human needs. She believes in the power of storytelling as a mode of understanding people and places that revolve around everyday activities. She is passionate about finding innovative and sustainable solutions to issues plaguing contemporary cities. She holds a strong inclination towards the changing dynamics and transformation of urban spaces while striving to bring ecology and urban fabric within a common realm. She is often found planning itineraries for her upcoming trips to satisfy her love for traveling and the desire to explore new places, diverse cuisine and vivid culture. Yoga and dancing are a vital part of her routine as a means to stay holistically fit, calm, positive and focused.

AKILA SHANMUGARAJ | Research Associate

As an ardent urbanist, Akila is a strong advocate for inclusivity and promotes community-led development. She has previously worked with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in the City Wide Inclusive Sanitation project (under TNUSSP funded by BMGF) where she extensively worked with communities, institutions and government agencies. She has worked in capacity building, governance and project management. As a passionate environmental planner, she has worked in multiple domains in developing data-driven solutions and has conducted extensive mapping exercises. As an architect, she has also been part of the Detailed Design Consultancy for multiple metro rail projects across India. She received her masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning with a specialization in Environmental Planning from CEPT University with awards for best thesis and academic excellence. She holds a bachelors degree in Architecture from SRM University.
At UDC, Akila works on research and writing papers on various urban subjects.

SHRUTI SHANKAR | Research and Content Development

Shruti is an urban designer and architect with experience working on the design of the built environment across a variety of scales. Her main areas of interest are in integrated design projects and collaborative methods to create innovative, lively and sustainable cities for people. As a passionate urbanist, Shruti enjoys writing and drawing about the making of cities and wears many hats at the UDC (often literally).

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COLLABORATORS

AITHIHYA ASHOK KUMAR

Aithihya is an independent animation filmmaker. A self- taught 2d animator, her personal expression relies on the technique of producing animated films where every frame is hand drawn. After starting her independent practice in 2017, she associates with Studio Chitrakoothu as an art director and animator. She has been associated as a collaborator with Urban Design Collective since 2015 and has worked on assignments such as poster designs, cover page designs, logo animation and short film production.

BHARATH GANDHI PALANISWAMY

Bharath is a civil engineer with a specialization in Geoinformatics. He is an urban enthusiast and always up for the cause of better cities. He is the Director at his own firm Rajarajan Engineering Consultancy & Construction Pvt. Ltd.

DEVANGI RAMAKRISHNAN

Devangi is an architect and urban designer whose work endeavours to realise inclusive and equitable cities through multidisciplinary, place-based, participatory, community-driven, action research, planning and design. Her projects target sustainable urban development, urban renewal, neighbourhood improvement, street and public space design, and her professional experience includes design and construction management of urban riverfronts, parks, and streetscapes, and community engagement projects in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Chennai, and Pondicherry.

DINESH JEYACHANDRAN

Dinesh completed his Bachelors in Architecture (B.Arch) from National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli in 2015. Subsequently, he joined COSTFORD (Centre of Science and Technology for Rural Development), Thiruvananthapuram as a Junior Architect and the Laurie Baker Centre for Habitat Studies, Thiruvananthapuram as an Academic Coordinator. He worked with both organisations for 3 years. Trained in the approach of Architect Laurie Baker, Dinesh works towards sustainable habitat development with a focus on alternative building construction techniques and cost-effective construction. Currently he is based in Chennai and works independently on projects in Tamil Nadu.

KATHEEJA TALHA

Katheeja is a writer and researcher with a background in architecture, theatre and anthropology. She currently practises architecture with Diagrammar in Chennai while documenting the many changes around her, especially in her beloved Triplicane. Despite all evidences to the contrary, she remains hopeful about the human condition.

MAHESH RADHAKRISHNAN

Mahesh is an architect with work experience ranging from large scale urban design to human scale interface design. He has been an urban research scholar at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Germany and is the founder of a small architectural practice with a long name- MOAD- The Madras Office for Architects and Designers.

NAWIN SARAVANAN

Nawin is an architect with a great love for streetscapes and a keen interest in creating walkable cities. Not surprisingly, he enjoys wandering around the city, tasting street food and discovering new trails. He strongly believes that only a city which respects its green and blue networks will sustain and that education is the first step towards creating a better city. Apart from work, he loves creating posters for the movies he saw the previous day. Nawin has an undergraduate degree in architecture from Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai.

NEHA KRISHNAN

Neha is an urban planner and architect currently based in New Jersey. Her work focuses on the impact of climate change on cities, resiliency planning and policy, and community-centric disaster management. She has worked for several years in Mumbai and Chennai as an architect and professor. Following a master’s degree in urban planning at Columbia University, she now teaches at SUNY Empire State and pursues a career in research. Neha is part of the editorial team for City Observer- UDC’s biannual journal on cities.

NISCHAL BUDDHAVARAPU

Nischal is an architect, urban designer, essayist, thinker, reader, feminist, adventurer and lots of other things that may not be true. He is one of the Directors at Padgro Consultants, a Chennai- based firm that offers architecture, urban design and planning services.

SIVAGAMI PERIANNAN

Sivagami is an architect, urban designer who is curious about everything urban. Her areas of interest include graphic design, housing, urban transformation and alternative theories in urban conservation. Having worked on projects of varied scales, she believes informed design can change the world for the better. She loves to explore new cities and old buildings.

SUNJANA THIRUMALA SRIDHAR

Sunjana is an Urban Designer and Architect with 9 years of work experience in the professional and academic urban design and architectural sector, from India, Africa and the USA. Her work encompasses large scale, large impact urban research and design, with a deeper focus on innovative and gender-oriented design strategies. She has independently, and through collaborative initiatives, developed designs which focus on long lasting, and genuine empowerment of vulnerable communities, with projects in Kenya and India. Prior to co-founding a practice in New York, she gained her professional experience under the guidance of elite design practices in Chennai and Bangalore. Her work includes, amongst more, detailed master plans for cities, waterfronts and villages, in addition to strategic redevelopment plans for downtowns and public plazas. Sunjana is part of the editorial team for City Observer- UDC’s biannual journal on cities.

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INTERNS
Alen John Idiculla Saintgits College of Engineering, Kottayam; September 2021- Present
Bhavya Trivedi CEPT University, Ahmedabad; July 2021- Present
Gouthaman E SPA Bhopal; May- July 2021
Noora Yasmin NID, Ahmedabad; March- September 2020
Shourya Dubey CEPT University, Ahmedabad; June- November 2019
Khushali Haji CEPT University, Ahmedabad; June- November 2019
Radhika Babu IIT, Kharagpur; May- July 2019
Venkateshwaran M Hindustan University, Chennai; May- June 2019
Subramaniyan N Hindustan University, Chennai; May- June 2019
Vaishali Gopalan Manipal University, Manipal; May- June 2019
Gokul Krishna. J SSN College of Engineering, Chennai; May- June 2019
R. Bezylal Praysingh Hindustan University, Chennai; June-July 2018
N. Priyadharshini Hindustan University, Chennai; June-July 2018
S. Selva Ganesh Hindustan University, Chennai; June-July 2018
Jesica Yu University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; May-June 2018
Brandon Persico University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; July- August 2017
Shravya Narakula SPA Vijayawada; May- July 2017
Gillian Yerington University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; May-June 2017
P.Prashant Manipal University, Manipal; December 2016
Arthisri.V Manipal University, Manipal; June- July 2016
Nilima Dhamal SPA Bhopal; May- July 2016
Priyanka Kathiresan SAP Chennai; April- June 2015
Dean Anthony Srinivasan AMS College of Architecture, Chennai; December 2014- March 2015

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VOLUNTEERS

Hari Vardhan, Sarveswaran Ganapathy, Ksheeraja Padmanabhan, Shvetha, Nandini Ramakuru, Roshni Krishnan, Sridharan, Sarat Chandran, Hari Krishnan, Krishna Das, Saritha Sudhakaran, Prasoon G Das, Vidya Anil, Anita C. Jakkappanavar, Anna Poulose, Anuja Priyanka, Archana Menon, Chidambaram, Dinesh, Govindarasu, Harshita D, Hima CS, Kirti M Halkai, Manasa Metpally, Moses Johnson, Pramod Bhargav, Prithvi Mahadevan, Rotti Gauramma Basappa, Shakthe Charan, Shraddha M Guggari, Shruthi Raghunath, Varun, Vidhyashree H, Vishwak, Ajeetha Ranganathan, Saroja Arunachalam, Yusuf Chiniwala, Nithya Ramesh, Kavitha Gonsalves, Reema Gupta, Hareesh Haridasan

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