Tacit Urban Research Network (TURN)

In 2017, Hyderabad Urban Lab became a member institution of  the Tacit Urban Research Network (TURN) Project, along with Centre for Policy Research, Indian Institute of Human Settlements, and Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai.

The research network aims to increase the visibility and understanding of hitherto ‘tacit’ knowledge about urban informality in India, and push for more inclusive policy frameworks.

HUL’s work in 2018 was shaped by the conceptual foundations and objectives of the TURN Project. Through orientation sessions for researchers and a series of in-house workshops on ‘Epistemology and Research’, HUL crafted its current work which broadly entails:

  •   Mapping patterns of changing spatial relations in the city
  •   Practicing community engagement
  •   Making visual representations of varying informalities within housing
  •   Developing manuals for understanding place and honing spatial imaginations
  •   Studying shared mobilities as a trust based utility
  •   Unearthing submerged knowledge and embodied work practices vis a vis water infrastructures
  •   Creating archival narratives of people’s movements (Calcutta)

TURN Workshop (April 2018) at Hyderabad with participants from Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Hyderabad Urban Lab, Centre for Policy Research and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

The TURN project is nearing its completion by the end of the year. Research carried out by HUL under TURN in different sites is being wrapped up. The outputs and results will be shared soon.

Migrant Relief in the Lockdown

With cases popping up across the country and the COVID pandemic knocking at our doorsteps, HUL began to brainstorm different ways to respond to the situation as an extension of its practice. Like in other instances, empowering, enabling, and informing the community remained at the centre of HUL’s response to the pandemic. A week before the lockdown, when hand sanitizers had disappeared off the shelves of medical shops across the city and the coronavirus was still a relatively unknown entity, the team prepared bottles of hand sanitizers using WHO Guidelines and easily available raw materials for distribution to workers and traders on First Lancer Road, along with posters in English, Hindi, and Urdu explaining how the virus spreads and how people can protect themselves from it.

As a lockdown began to look inevitable, we reached out to vulnerable people in the First Lancer community known to us through past association, such as women-headed households in the neighbourhood, extending material and moral support. Once the lockdown came into effect, we expanded our relief efforts, reaching out to a number of migrant families in three different neighbourhoods of the city. Much of this work was helmed by Ma’am B and Md. Siraj. Alongside the distribution of rations and essential items, HUL’s relief practices prioritized the building up of relationships with some of the city’s most neglected and vulnerable populations, with the conviction that it is not enough to fulfil people’s material needs but to also grant them dignity by listening to their stories. Starting in the last week of March, HUL’s relief efforts grew in scale and scope as the lockdown continued into April, May, and June. Even with the lockdown lifted, relief work is being carried out in phases as the need arises. So far we have been able to extend support to members of the transgender community in Secunderabad, local informal worker in and around Ahmed Nagar, and migrant workers in Ahmed Nagar and parts of HITEC city.

HUL’s immersion into relief work emerged organically out of community engagement practices developed over the years. Strong relationships built up through such engagements formed the firm foundation on which relief work could be undertaken. Simultaneously, the production and circulation of graphics and posters with information pertaining to the virus in multiple languages continued. Documentation of this work through photographs and visual materials has been curated in our Lockdown Album.

Webinars on COVID-19

Besides relief work undertaken by HUL, we have also been an active part of conversations about the current crisis, its ramifications, and redressals happening across the country and internationally. The following are a few of the important webinars our Director, Dr. Maringanti has been a part of:


  • Dr. Maringanti is co-teaching a semester long course on System Design with Prof. Venugopal Maddipati at the School of Design, Ambedkar University, Delhi.
  • HUL is working with FLAME University, Pune on an Urban Studies Seminar.
  • Dr. Maringanti will be conducting a course on Urban Studies at TISS, Hyderabad in October.
  • Dr. Maringanti is on the Advisory Board on Curriculum at the Department of Environmental Planning, SPA Bhopal.