Portland hosts a Young Indian Leader to study the region’s Urban Innovations

The Portland Metro, Oregon , USA is hosting a Mid-Career Professional from India through the Young Urban Leaders (YUL) Fellowship program organized by The Urban Vision in collaboration with Portland Metro. The program promotes solution driven insights and ideas to address the pressing urban challenges of India; as well as offers a platform for young leaders to learn more about urban innovations in the region.

“Our experience with the YUL Fellowship has been extraordinary. We have been exposed to new ideas and new perspectives that enrich our efforts to create more vibrant and sustainable communities. And, I hope, we have given back to India a leader who will help transform her community with what she learned her in Portland.”, said Metro Councillor Rex Burkholder.

The Program is in its second year in Portland was made possible due to the support of Nancy Chase , an Independent Planning Professional in Portland . “I became involved with YUL after a visit to India, a fascinating country but with so many challenges related to urban growth. My home, Portland, Oregon, faced and is facing the same issues but on a much smaller scale. It is my hope that professionals from both countries can learn from each other with the common goal of creating sustainable communities.” said Chase.

The Program allows a fellow to get insights in public policy, urban planning and government operations in the region through experiential learning. Portland’s has the status as one the world’s most progressive cities due to its landmark policies and urban growth management strategies. A report featuring a series of design and policy intelligence of best practices of the Portland city gained during the 2011 fellowship was recently published. “The YUL Fellowship was a major turning point for me to help with my goal of achieving long term positive changes in India’s urban landscape. This fellowship is one of a kind in India that gives young professionals like me to explore best practices in urban planning in a region that has pioneered in progressive and sustainable urban planning. The region of Portland and the expertise at the Metro regional government provided me with enough substance to clearly define my vision for urban India. Having the privilege of being the first fellow under this amazing program, I had the opportunity to shape and define the fellowship that would hopefully be useful for the future fellows as well. “ said Ishani Mehta , YUL 2011 Fellow.

The fellow maintains a regular column about the policy and design best practices of the city in “The Urban Vision’s” online journal. The Fellow will also participate in local round tables and conferences. At the end of the program, the fellow will also publish a report on the innovation in the region. The 2012 YUL Fellow Sonal Kulkarni is an Architect & Planner from Bangalore in India. She will be working on & studying projects in the area of Transit Oriented Development at Portland Metro while trying to reflect policy and planning principles existing in United States greenest metropolitan, Portland back to the Indian Urban context and help build bridges between urbanists in India and the United States as well as serving as an ambassador to Indian Urbanism while at Portland.

“As planners, we are citizens of the world working toward the same goals: healthy, vibrant communities where people have transportation, jobs and housing choices along with access to nature, clean air and water. We are very pleased to host a YUL fellow for the second year because it fosters that camaraderie and sense of purpose.” said Robin McArthur , Planning and Development Director for Metro Portland

“India is among the last large rural nations of the world. We are only about 30 per cent urban at this point. So, there is a huge opportunity to leapfrog into a society that is environmentally and socially sustainable; especially by learning from the successes and failures of the more urbanized / developed parts of the world. This is really the crux of the agenda that we have set forth at The Urban Vision. The aim of the Young Urban Leaders Fellowship program is to stir the next generation of civic leaders in India by learning from urban planning innovations.” said Prathima Manohar , Founder The Urban Vision.

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