Prakruthi S. Karadagi is an Independent Architect – Urban Designer and the founder of her fledgling design consultancy firm: ‘Urban Coherence’. Apart from her practice, she is actively involved in academics as a visiting faculty for B.Arch and M.Arch. With a diverse experience of over eight years, she strongly advocates a research-based and participatory approach in shaping urban public spaces. Her publications include ‘Reconciling the Public, the Private and the People: An Inquiry into the ‘publicness’ of retail urban spaces in Bengaluru’ – ISOCARP Doha Congress, November 2021. Working on public sector projects such as urban master plans, advertisement policy, affordable housing and the Bengaluru Smart City Proposal, has ingrained in her, a comprehensive understanding of spaces – from a building to its surrounding neighbourhood and the larger city – through an integrated approach towards architecture, urban design, urban planning and policy. With a passion for climate responsive, people-centric, sustainable spatial design, her research is focused on bridging the gap between the providers and the users, to create a vibrant and accessible public realm.

Related profiles

Sustainable Alternatives to Single Use Plastics


An adventure sports lover and an avid trekker, she has always loved being close to nature. Anitha Shankar, Founder of Astu Eco Pvt Ltd is chosen as founder for Women in Indian Social Entrepreneurs Network and winner of National Geographic Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge. And now part of Women4Climate through C40 Paris. She is determined to dent one of the biggest challenges in climate change – single use plastics. Through Astu Eco, she perseveres to make a positive contribution to society. Astu Eco addresses climate change by providing Sustainable alternatives to Single Use Plastics and thus decreasing single-use plastic footprint.


Innovative and delightful earth friendly products that motivates you to move towards a Sustainable lifestyle Astu Eco’s focus is eco-friendly products designed to preserve mother earth for all our future generations. Astu presents a range of everyday earth friendly products that is an alternative for the harmful disposable plastic. The Good Earth Astu Research (GEAR) Center, is constantly endeavoring to find newer, better products that are closer to earth, biodegradable, compostable, non-toxic, chemical free and safer for man, animal and earth. Astu Eco over the years have added innovative consumer and B2B products that help decrease single use plastic footprint. We currently have a range of 70 SKUs and many of them are known for their innovation and impact. * Decreased more than 5.8 million pieces of single use plastic from our products. * Supply chain consist of women micro entrepreneurs and rural micro entrepreneurs. * The Good Earth Astu Research (GEAR) Center is R&D focused and provides solutions to B2B packaging challenges * We are currently BETA Testing our Tech Enabled Consumer products which TELL you how YOU changed the climate by using the Astu Eco products.

Being an adventure sports lover and a regular trekker for decades, I have witnessed how we humans have left indelible single-use plastic footprints even in high altitudes where humans cant inhabit. Closer home, I could see my Bangalore city transition from a garden city to garbage city. I believe that change starts with one person, one action which can collectively become a movement. One year of research gave use incredible insights, most prominent being, – Easy to say “Dont use Single use plastics!”, but what were the alternatives? – Very few with almost no market visibility. With a clear agenda of designing innovative earth friendly alternatives to single use plastics, we started Astu Eco. We work on two prongs – Innovative products and continuous awareness building.


The wonders of the Natural world is mesmerising, – It asks no questions, neither volunteers any answers. It has always been my ‘go-to’ place – to introspect, explore, rewire, energise and return with purpose. It has given me so much. It’s my turn to give back. The clock is ticking. Positive climate action is the only recourse.

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Citizen First: Accelerate your Civic Journey, Transform your Environment


Sobia Rafiq is an Urban Development Professional and a Certified TRUE Advisor with over 10 years of work experience. She graduated in 2011 with a B.Arch degree from Manipal University and in 2014 with an MSc. in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Social Science (LSE) Cities. As an architect, she has primarily worked in the Social Sector for the redevelopment of villages and housing in slums and low-income communities. As an Urban Planner, she has anchored several innovative projects with respect to Sustainable Mobility, Waste Management, Public Space Design, Water Management, and Governance. Her commitment to solving complex environmental issues in Indian Cities has led to her working with various actors ranging from government bodies and private organizations to local communities. She co-founded Sensing Local in 2016, a Bengaluru-based Urban Living Lab that applies an evidence-based systems approach to urban planning through participatory planning and design. She has a holistic understanding of how Indian Cities work and is an active advocate for building inclusive and sustainable cities.


The ‘Citizen first’ initiative, aims to support citizens and professionals in their civic journey by providing exposure, knowledge, and tools to cut short their learning curve and strengthen their capacity to participate meaningfully and sustainably in tackling civic issues towards climate change mitigation action in their local areas.

There are three typologies of learning modules aimed at varied ways of capacity-building: Explore (demystify urban systems with first-hand experience), Train (learn tools, software, and methods) and co-create (engage in a live context with a local community from diagnosis to solution).


  • Transform ‘Curious’ citizens into community ‘Champions’ and ‘Passionate’ professionals into ‘Competent’ Problem-solvers
  • Supporting the advancement of Sustainable Development Goals by educating people in the sectors that bridge civic issues and climate action


  • Build a cadre of trained ‘Active Citizens’ across all Indian cities that are aware and empowered to lead Climate action at the local level
  • Enable discovery of entry points for more citizens to engage effectively and meaningfully in the civic space, thereby increasing the representation of voices that will take on solving these issues.

As an organization focused on solving civic and environmental issues, Sensing Local has been working collaboratively with various stakeholders, especially citizens at the scale of the ward. The 60+ projects we have worked on are spread across various sectors like Sustainable Mobility, Waste Management, Water Management, Air Pollution, Public Space Design, Urban Poverty, and Governance, that impact Climate Action. In our experience, we have seen the massive positive impact an actively engaged citizen can bring to their neighborhood from participating in local governance (Ex. Engaging in Ward Committees) to actively anchoring local projects to mitigate climate change (Ex. the Walkable Malleswaram Project that is enabling modal shift and reduction in emissions). In an attempt to use this model and find a more scalable solution to solve climate issues locally, we conducted 6 pilot workshops in 2021, and through a recent survey, we captured insights from over 110+ citizens/professionals on the inhibitors, challenges, and aspects that they would find useful to help accelerate their civic journey. Through this, we have evaluated the knowledge gaps, usefulness, and viable modalities for capacity-building workshops, that will aim to formalise learning and empower more local action on-ground and at-scale.


The aspiration to contribute positively toward building equitable and sustainable cities was seeded very early on in my career as a young/lone architect attempting to work in the social sector way back in 2011. From then to now, this has not only been reflected in my personal journey but has also been adopted as my purpose, resulting in co-founding Sensing Local in 2016, with a sole focus on the environment and participatory planning at the local level. Taking my learnings and experiences from the last decade, through my organization I aim to scale solutions that align with the SDGs and work strategically and collaboratively to help mitigate climate change.

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Her Mentor

Poonam Bir Kasturi

Energy Efficiency for Low and Mid-income Buildings


Prajna Aigal is an Architect specialized in Energy Efficient and Sustainable Architecture. Her key interest lies in sustainability in buildings, which she has been pursuing since before receiving her degrees. The current scenario of the green building industry focuses majorly on large scale developments such as campuses, apartment complexes, large scale industries etc., mostly because the general public thinks that only these kinds of projects require architects or green building specialists. Her interest is to shift that perspective and start focusing on buildings made by mid-income or lower-income individuals and see how green they can be made.


The project deals with improving the condition and comfort of buildings which are being built by mid-income and lower income groups. Generally, individuals belonging to these groups do not see the necessity for proper architecture, let alone sustainable buildings. One of the main reasons for this is the notion that these interventions will increase the cost of the building. Due to this, people are willing to sacrifice their health and well-being to stay in extremely uncomfortable buildings.

How does an uncomfortable building contribute to climate change? By requiring a lot more energy-draining comfort appliances like air conditioners, which in turn increase the energy requirement of the building, and contribute to creating a hotter outdoor environment (as the heat is transferred from the inside to the outside of the building).

Although buildings belonging to mid and lower income groups are generally not given much importance in many standards or climate action plans due to their small footprints, they make a big impact on the climate of a city and the micro-climate of an area due to their large numbers. These buildings can include more than just their houses. For example, workshops, livelihood spaces, animal husbandry sheds, processing plants, storerooms etc. can all be considered as buildings required by these individuals.

The trend of quick and cheap construction is generally seen in these groups. The idea of how to create comfortable and sustainable buildings quickly and as cost-effectively as possible is an exploration that this project will delve in – whether it be new constructions or retrofitting simple and highly impactful solutions into existing buildings.

While learning and working with various sustainability standards and green building rating systems, I noticed a clear gap in them when it comes to buildings with smaller footprints. Although this gap seems valid when considering a single building, but when they are seen together as a cluster of buildings, their energy consumption and effect to the environment can easily compete with buildings with larger footprints. This made me want to initiate this project and dive deeper into this topic.


Buildings contribute significantly to climate change and environment deprivation. With people spending most of their time in buildings, it becomes important to create healthy, comfortable and humane spaces while also tending to their impacts on the planet. Currently, green ratings for buildings are considered as a marketing strategy rather than a requirement. Although this helps in making many big institutions and companies take it up for their buildings, a majority of smaller buildings which dot the landscapes of our cities don’t realize the importance of these green standards. With my skillset, I am deeply motivated to change this narrative and involve smaller buildings in the participation for sustainability, energy efficiency and climate resilience.