Confluence 2019 by Mahindra World City delves into ‘Thinking Cities: The Rise of Resilience’

February, 2019

Annual thought leadership platform by Mahindra World City brings together global urban experts, policymakers, changemakers and Mahindra leaders

Urbanisation is accelerating globally and in India. Urban resilience – as demonstrated by cities that can adapt and transform in the face of challenges such as climate change, inadequate infrastructure, pandemic situations – is the need of the hour. A ‘thinking city’ provides an enabling environment for multiple stakeholders to come together and build urban resilience.
The fifth edition of ‘Confluence’, the annual thought leadership platform curated by Mahindra World City, catalyzed insightful discussions on the timely and very relevant theme of urban resilience, focusing on the rise of thinking cities and the role of citizenry, policy-makers and corporates in making these cities more liveable and sustainable. Confluence 2019 held on 13th Feb 2019, helped build consensus on the development trajectory of resilient cities by focusing on two factors - the systems that make up our cities and their interdependencies and subsequent risks. Participants comprised urban stakeholders from all walks of life, including urban planners, architects, journalists, corporates, consultants and representatives of government.
The event witnessed participation by respected national and international leaders and experts of repute including Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Chair of Economics and Government, London School of Economics & Political Science; Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia University; Mr. Arun Maira, Chairman, HelpAge International and Former Member of Planning Commission of India; Mr. Rajeev Dubey, Mahindra Group President (HR & Corporate Services) & CEO (After-Market Sector); Mr. Vishaan Chakrabarti, Associate Professor, Columbia University's School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation; and Dr. Tia Kansara, Founder Director, Kansara Hackney Ltd.; Mr. Anoop Nautiyal, Founder-Chairperson, Gati Foundation; and Ms. Renuka Tahiliani, Founder Trustee and Secretary, Equal Streets and Chairperson KBS Foundation, among many others.

Mr. Arun Nanda, Chairman, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd. and Mahindra Holidays & Resorts (I) Ltd. delivered the inaugural address at Confluence 2019, as he shared the journey of evolution of Mahindra World City, Chennai, and spoke of the pressing need for planned and sustainable urban development.


Mr. Arun Nanda


‘Evolution of Cities’ (Session 1) – This session highlighted key factors which make a city resilient, while holding up torchbearers for future cities and inquiring into models of urban resilience. Smart Cities were envisioned as ‘Humane Urbane’ and the need to make technology serve us to build cities of the future was highlighted. The session placed emphasis on community-owned and community-driven urban planning that is based on replenishing planet earth.


Dr.Tia Kansara

Mr. Vishaan Chakrabarti


Leading the Change (Session 2) - The second session shone the spotlight on real-life changemakers – those who have actively driven positive change within their cities. Data-led metamorphosis of cities; walking and cycling as pillars of sustainable mobility; the ownership of streets by the citizens as a form of urban resilience; and the need to shift attention to waste management comprised some of the key discussion areas.


Ms. Renuka Tahiliani

Mr. Bipin Kumar

Mr. Anoop Nautiyal

Confluence 2019 concluded with a power-packed panel discussion titled ‘Crafting the Future'. Moderated by Ms. Sangeeta Prasad, MD & CEO, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd., the session explored the factors that lead to city resilience; the need to develop cities around people; and how we need to ‘think economics ecologically and ecology economically’. Discussions also focused on how cities are learning systems - an ‘inside-in’ network that learns from citizens living within (instead of being driven by external factors). This session highlighted how sustainability and resilience are interwoven; with both dependent on human, natural, social and physical capital.


Audiences at Confluence 2019 were treated to scintillating dance performances between sessions that were themed around cities and resilience; and reinforced the need for harmonious growth.
McKinsey & Company was the knowledge partner to Confluence 2019.