Deepa Mehta

New York, New York, United States

I study cities and urban change. I am especially interested in the connection between industrial innovation and economic development planning. I like finding out how industries adapt to new technologies, how existing and emerging technologies connect, and how these shifts transform the labor markets they engage and the cities and regions they inhabit.

My doctoral research focus is on new manufacturing practices and capabilities in India and their engagements with other nations in the SAARC and ASEAN regions. I am deeply interested in changes in labor practices, aspirations, and mobilities as well as shifts in educational attainment and skill development. The other side of this ongoing transformation that are fascinating are the roles played by emerging bilateral and multilateral trade agreements in South and Southeast Asia as well as intellectual property rights that further globalize production processes. Ultimately, I am interested in how cities and regions experience these larger shifts locally, and what kinds of physical planning practices and social and economic development policies help them adapt to industrial restructuring in this milieu.

Some of my recent research projects include studying how technological and organizational innovation is transforming the future of artisans in India, developing new pedagogies for teaching and learning about social and economic transformations in the global South, and working in the foresight community in Silicon Valley. I have also worked in community and interpretive planning in San Francisco and in transportation planning in New York. Before that, I researched preservation and planning policies related to vernacular architecture conservation and construction in the MENA region.

I currently live in New York. My philosophy is that inspiration is everywhere, connection is sacred, and passion is paramount. My informal motto is: "You can buy fashion, but you can never buy style."

  • Work
    • PhD Student
  • Education
    • Columbia University