Category: Lan Use / Rural and Urban Development

Under the Land Use / Urban and Rural Development research area, IGCS focuses on urban expansion, particularly on the peri-urban fringes of cities and functional urban-rural interdependencies. Researchers seek to understand the drivers behind expansion and growth, the role of institutions and policies and how they interact with urban, suburban and rural aspirations, the social, economic and environmental impacts of peri-urban growth and how these processes are governed.

Dr. Christoph Woiwode joins the new Centre on Water & Sustainability at IIT Madras

Dr. Christoph Woiwode, Resident Visiting Faculty in the IGCS Landuse Area at IIT Madras, is now a part of a consortium of ten faculty members establishing an interdisciplinary Research Centre at IIT Madras in “Water and Sustainability.”

In its initial phase of three years, the starting financial endowment of the center will be close to 600,000 Euros for the establishment of its research program with a focus on achieving water, carbon, and nutrient circularity in urbanizing transformations. Dr. Woiwode will be co-leading with Prof Chella Rajan on the socio-political component of water and land-use governance to provide research about the water-food-energy nexus.

A core methodological design approach of the center is applying a transdisciplinary research design within the framework of real-world/living labs to produce solution-oriented and relevant outcomes toward sustainable and climate-resilient urban agglomerations in the Global South. This builds on previous research carried out on periurbanization in Chennai.

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Katchupedu Nook Celebrates First Achievements

On the outskirts of Chennai, the IGCS’s land-use area project, Katchipedu Nook, celebrated its first show of achievements by the young learners of a deprived community on Sunday, 27th November. The kids moderated the program and were supported by the two Nook Managers, Sona and Venkateshan, demonstrating documentary shooting and editing, dressing table carpentry, and piano play, among other things. Sustainable practices were also showcased through recycling, reuse and upcycling in coconut-shell jewellery, crochet bag making, and a drum set made entirely from plastic waste. The produce was sold with their brandmark stickers, “Katchipedu Nook”, demonstrating the kids’ entrepreneurial spirit!


The Nook is a self-learning and skill development centre where individuals can redefine and design education for themselves. The space provides a conducive environment to foster curiosity, innovation, problem-solving and critical thinking. To interact and promote self-learning, learners embark on projects where they set goals and do tangible projects to be showcased at the end of the goal cycle.

Congratulations to the team, and many thanks for a great and fun-filled show!

Dr Christoph Woiwode attended the International Sustainability Transitions (IST) Conference

Last week, Dr. Christoph Woiwode attended the International Sustainability Transitions (IST) Conference. Christoph participated on Nov 21 in

Session 2: Track 1: Conference track: Sustainability Transitions in a Global Context | Dialogue session 202: Consolidating new research on transitions in the Global South (5:15pm – 6:45pm);

The recording can be found here: https://portalapp.consultus.eventsair.com/VirtualAttendeePortal/ist2022-conference/ist2022/


And presented a paper on Nov 22 in

Session 3: Track 4 : Governing transitions  (2:30pm – 4:00pm)

The link to paper presentation in IGCS websiteThe link to the paper on IGCS website

You can access the two files here:


Sustainability in Education: The Case of Katchipedu, Chennai

The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) conducts research on current sustainability challenges and disseminates the knowledge generated. Infact their work at Katchipdu community near Chennai in Tamil Nadu focuses on environmental protection regarding water resources, energy, land use, rural development and waste management, and aims to develop the capacity and capability to promote sustainable development.

We are happy to announce our newest Nook in Chennai (near Katchipedu) in collaboration with IGCS. Join us for a special FACEBOOK Live session with Dr. Christoph Woiwode, Urban Planner & Anthropologist, Visiting faculty with IGCS at IIT Madras; Ms. Uthra Radhakrishnan, Senior Project Officer with IGCS at IIT Madras and Dr. Christoph Neusiedl, Chairman, Initiative for New education as they examine sustainability in education from a research lens.

Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Time: 6-7 PM IST

Where: @ProjectDefy on Facebook

IGCS Research Brief 01/2022 Published

Peter Volz and Christoph Woiwode conducted a study about the agro-food system of Chennai and its surrounding region in 2021 in order to see how it can be made more sustainable.
The outcome of this participatory research is published in this IGCS Research Brief 01/2022. They are hoping to continue this exciting process with an action-oriented workshop to reflect upon these recommendations and discuss with stakeholders the potential for an agroecological transformation of the Chennai region.

Featured Image on the post by Pixabay.

Landuse Area awarded a new three-year project in Sustainability Education

Dr. Christoph Woiwode, RWTH Aachen University and IGCS Visiting Faculty at IIT Madras, together with Bangalore-based non-profit organisation Project DEFY and the German-based association Initiative für Neue Bildung e.V. were awarded a three-year grant by the Hans Hermann Voss-Stiftung to create a “Nook” self-designed learning centre near Chennai. By building on IGCS’s Periurban Initiative and the ongoing Peri-Cene Project about Chennai’s periurbanization processes, the Chennai Nook incorporates an action research component to integrate sustainability with the learning process and learners-led projects such as community gardening, or repair and recycling. Read more here.

The following images are illustrations of the workings of the previous Nook location:

The Chennai Nook Project – Summary

IGCS teamed up in a new collaborative project with Bangalore-based non-profit organisation Project DEFY and the German-based association Initiative für Neue Bildung e.V. to create a “Nook” self-designed learning centre near Chennai. Nooks are ‘schools without teachers’ equipped with tools, technology, electronics, recycled materials and a broad variety of resources that learners can utilise to design and pursue their own learning journeys, based on individual needs and interests.

The Chennai Nook will be located in Katchipedu, a periurban village 40 km west of Chennai, adjacent to the popular Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Site. Due to a lack of access to quality education and a spiral of marginalisation and social stigmatisation that the local population faces, a large part of the Katchipedu residents rely on odd jobs or exploitative day labour. For the village youth, in particular, prospects are very limited. This leads to ever-more social conflicts and issues. The Nook project, initially funded by Hans Hermann Voss-Stiftung over a three-year period to commence in January 2022, sets out to change this scenario. The partners envision the Nook to become a catalyst for change and provide Katchipedu’s youth with the platform, resources, skills and knowledge they need to take charge of their own lives. It will play a pivotal role in supporting and nurturing the ambitions of the youth and thereby contribute to a more sustainable transformation of the Katchipedu community at large. By building on IGCS’s Periurban Initiative and the ongoing Peri-Cene Project about Chennai’s periurbanization processes, the Chennai Nook incorporates an action research component to integrate sustainability with the learning process and learners-led projects such as community gardening, or repair and recycling.

Contact: Dr. Christoph Woiwode, woiwode@igcs-chennai.org

IGCS Postdoc Dr. Christoph Woiwode organizes Covid-19 Emergency Relief in Chennai

We are currently facing unprecedented suffering, pain, and loss in many parts of India across innumerable hospitals and in people’s homes. What goes rather unnoticed at the moment is the impact on food and nutrition, especially for the deprived communities such as the shelterless, slum dwellers, migrant workers, and, of course, children. This is even aggravated when families have lost their main breadwinner.

IGCS Postdoc Dr. Christoph Woiwode has initiated an emergency relief for such communities in Chennai and other parts of India. This is an initiative leveraging personal contacts through well-established connections to several organizations on the ground to ensure money is used sensibly and for its intended purpose.

Dr. Woiwode has been in touch with the Information and Research Centre for Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC), a local organization in Chennai, for the past two years which works for the rights of the slum, squatter, and shelterless people. This is an NGO that is rooted in the slums and highly committed. Last year he also initiated an in-kind collection of toys, books, stationery, and clothes for children of a huge slum resettlement housing complex near his home.

Commenting on his initiative, Dr. Woiwode says: ” The second wave in India is even more devastating for the poor who have not been able to recover from last year’s impacts. Only recently I again received a call for donations from them.” (images below)

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Dr. Woiwode is now organizing an international call for support to these and other deprived people such as migrants, shelterless, and slum dwellers in Chennai.

“At this stage, we intend to provide immediate emergency relief (food and other daily needs). I will be personally involved in the execution and implementation of the emergency activities with IRCDUC to ensure funds reach the intended beneficiaries,” he says.

Beyond this, his team is planning two additional, more mid-term activities. First, to use the donations to set up a Livelihoods Relief Fund to provide seed funding for small self-employed enterprises to get back into business whenever possible, or to establish a new income-generating activity. Second, develop a mid-term food strategy. He says, “Food insecurity, shortages, and malnutrition have dramatically increased as people lost their already precarious, informal, employment. This is directed to move from immediate relief to mid-/long-term food security.”

If you wish to support the cause through financial donations please refer to the bank details below. This is a personal call and not made via a large organization. Hence donations are based on trust and can be done to Dr. Christoph Woiwode’s personal accounts. To be updated and informed about the ongoing work after making donations, you can kindly drop an email to woiwode@igcs-chennai.org.

Bank Details:

Please state purpose: CHENNAI COVID-19 RELIEF

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(Note: German and EU tax law does generally not allow for tax reclamation of donations to organizations in countries like the USA, Canada, and African, Latin American and Asian countries)

For international, secure transactions especially from outside the EU or from EU countries directly into the Indian account, it is recommend using www.wise.com

Read more on Dr. Woiwode’s work published by Indien Aktuell