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Chosein Yamahata who is a professor of International Policy at Aichi Gakuin University in Japan said,” Rural transformation is possible only with optimum use of locally available resources and participation of resident population. Imposing any development by the urban planners is seen as interference by the local people. Hence we share our knowledge and information with the villagers to help them visualize their own model of development for not just construction but the entire socio-economic development of the area.” He is here to attend a two day international symposium titled’ Enabling Rural Transformations: Role of Academia under changing scenarios of Development, Economy, Environment and Social Movement’ that is being organized jointly by department of architecture and planning, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), Institute of Town Planners of India (ITPI), Nagpur chapter, and Unnat Bharat Abhiyan in collaboration with Aichi Gakuin University, Japan.
According to Yamahata all the developing countries were facing a crisis in development of rural areas. This was mainly due to bad governance as well as lack of awareness and information by locals as well as development agencies or authorities. Aichi Gakuin University and VNIT have signed a memorandum of understanding for rural transformation in developing countries in Asia. He said,” Our University is working in India, Myanmar and Thailand at present. Gradually we are expanding the horizon. The MoU involves students exchange programme, sharing of knowledge and information for small gains at local levels. We believe small gains multiply and lead to bigger results with the hope that the suggestions made by us are adopted by the implementing authorities.”
According to Sameer Deshkar from VNIT’s architecture department, this symposium was an effort to bring together researchers and professionals from different domains working towards aspects concerning sustainability and resilience or rural regions in Asian countries. It can be considered as an academic diplomacy to ponder upon the possible approaches in dealing with development of rural regions and also to encourage research into rural sector. Under the circumstances where changing environmental, social, economical and governance scenarios are offering newer and revolutionary opportunities on the one hand and exacerbate pressures for sustainability of these regions on the other, a section of academicians are expressing concerns that the rapid transitions of the rural regions would uproot the traditional knowledge systems that are so very crucial for local communities against diversities. He said,” Whole exercise is much beyond the conventional boundaries of architecture and engineering.” According to Sanjay Kopulawar from the ITPI the focus of the Indo-Japan collaboration was on justice, society, nature and development.