Alumni Spotlight with Dhruv Bahl

Dhruv Bahl

The IHS Alumni network wouldn't be the expansive worldwide community it is today without the dedication and involvement of our alumni. The network is represented by the Alumni Board, a team of passionate IHS alumni who volunteer to help the network grow and respond to the needs of its nearly 10.000 members. We're glad to introduce you to the new Vice-president, Dhruv Bahl, an alumnus of the MSc programme in Urban Management and Development. Read on to get to know Dhruv better!

About Dhruv

Dhruv Bahl is an accomplished architect, urbanist, and researcher with a rich and diverse professional background spanning Rotterdam, Paris, New York, India, and Mexico. Following his graduation from IHS, Dhruv has emerged as a prominent figure in the field, actively contributing to numerous urbanism and urban policy studies.
With an interest in and extensive knowledge of urban policy and various models of urbanism, Dhruv has engaged in successful international collaborations, resulting in notable publications and articles featured at a national and international level. His expertise has also led him to engage in panel discussions on urban development.

Recognizing the transformative power of a strong network, Dhruv is committed to enhancing the global alumni network of IHS. He believes in the value of meaningful interactions and purposeful programs in fostering connections and creating positive change. Dhruv's dedication to network building aligns with his passion for housing, particularly in the realms of incremental housing and assisted self-help housing.

Besides his professional accomplishments, Dhruv is fluent in English, Spanish, Hindi, and Punjabi. With his linguistic versatility, he is able to easily connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

From architecture to urban development

Dhruv's passion for urban planning and architecture is what drove him on his current career path. His educational journey started with a bachelor's degree in Architecture and Building Sciences at Chandigarh College of Architecture. This experience sparked his interest in urban management and development, which led him to pursue a Master's degree in Urban Management and Development at IHS, in Rotterdam. This equipped Dhruv with the knowledge and skills to merge his architectural background with strategic planning and project management, thus shaping his current role as an urbanist.

In his work, Dhruv is involved in multiple projects which involve analyzing urban issues, formulating strategic plans, and implementing initiatives which aim to improve the quality of urban life. Presently, Dhruv's primary focus lies on Social Housing. He works together with various stakeholders such as government agencies, communities, and professionals, to ensure the effective development of urban areas by integrating social, economic, and environmental considerations seamlessly.

Collaborations & publications

Throughout the years, Dhruv has collaborated with various organizations and professionals at a national and international level. Notably, he has worked as a Research and Communications Assistant at the European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN), where he conducted extensive research on urban issues, organized conferences and policy labs, and contributed to knowledge dossiers on specific urban themes. Dhruv has also co-authored papers on topics like affordable housing and the impact of urban agendas. He is a co-author of the international publication "Affordable Housing, Inclusive Cities," with the research article "The Success and Loose Ends of a Flexible Approach to Upgrade Informal Housing." Additionally, Dhruv's work was featured in the publication "The National Impact of the Urban Agenda for the EU 2016–2019," supported by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

"Being a part of the IHS Alumni Board and founding the Alumni Mentorship Program has allowed me to connect with a global network of professionals, facilitating continuous learning even after graduation."

Working abroad

Dhruv finds the experience of working in different countries and work environments very enriching, as it has broadened his perspective on urban issues, allowing him to understand different cultural contexts, and to learn from professionals with different backgrounds. Moreover, this greatly expanded his network and provided many cross-cultural exchange opportunities.

Life in Mexico

Dhruv is currently based in Mexico City, a place he finds vibrant, dynamic and captivating, due to its rich history, culture, and diverse communities. Mexico City holds a special place in Dhruv's heart with its thriving art scene, tantalizing cuisine, and a strong sense of community. Comparatively, when reflecting on his hometown, Dhruv recognizes that Mexico City provides a broader canvas for urban experimentation and innovation. Its scale and complexity present both unique challenges and remarkable opportunities for urbanists like him to make an impact.

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