National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA)


The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is India’s leading national think tank on urban planning and development. As a hub for the generation and dissemination of cutting-edge research in the urban sector, NIUA seeks to provide innovative solutions to address the challenges of a fast urbanising India, and pave the way for more inclusive and sustainable cities of the future.

Since the 1970s, Indian cities have undergone a transformative journey. Following rapid industrialisation post-Independence, increases in population have taken place alongside large-scale rural to urban migration. With urban hubs swelling in size and density, exciting opportunities for growth have come into view whilst being accompanied by new risks and challenges. As cruxes of economic and political power, the question of how cities are planned, governed, and indeed, for who, becomes all the more crucial.

It is against this backdrop that in 1976, NIUA was appointed as an apex body to support and guide the Government of India in its urban development plans. Since then, it has worked closely with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, alongside other government and civil sectors, to identify key areas of research, and address the lacunae in urban policy and planning. With a team spanning planners, engineers, researchers, architects and analysts, the Institute provides cross disciplinary expertise and technical assistance for city and state-level projects, as well as developing toolkits and customised training programmes to strengthen the capacity of local and regional, and governing agencies. In its aims of enriching and expanding urban knowledge bases within the country, its work today addresses 5 major thematic concerns:

  • Urbanization & Economic Growth
  • Urban Governance & Finance
  • Urban Infrastructure & Built Environment
  • Environment, Climate Change & Resilience
  • Social Development

The skills, resources and deep-rooted knowledge NIUA has accumulated over 40 years of experience in the urban sector also make it the first port of call for international donors and institutions seeking to develop meaningful partnerships in the country. Whilst helping bolster India’s urban narrative at the global level, NIUA is also committed to aligning its efforts in accords with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring that global targets are achieved through locally adapted and integrated urban frameworks.