Deepali Khunteta

Urban Transformation and Placemaking

Figure 1 The first impression 


This setting was enough to say how Heidelberg was going to be different from my Native land. The idea of walking and cycling for leisure and learning was what I was looking forward to for the next week. 

The picture was taken just outside the Railway station on the day of our arrival in Heidelberg. Time 10 pm 

Say Hi with a smile and bye with a smile. This beautiful gesture is a very personal takeaway from the whole of my trip to Europe, and it is going to be with me forever. 

The workshop throughout the week exposed me to wonderful learning experiences with diverse storytelling techniques. (One of the words of the glossary that was happening at every moment). 

The initial exercise of word dissection for me was an eye-opener in understanding the perspectives of other disciplines and made me frame a bigger picture attached to them. Each word provoked me to rethink my existing knowledge thereby making me understand the process of learning and unlearning all together at once. The collaborative exercises all over the week offered me valuable experiences beyond my thoughts with weaving a collective narrative that included everyone in the picture. 

The walks across the city with the method of walking have embossed in me an image that can never be forgotten. And the image is a mixed emotion, encapsulating the profound historical layers of the city, with its natural beauty and at the same time also showcasing its transformation into a knowledge hub. 

With spending more time in the workshop several questions kept me occupied: What happens when this knowledge is not for those who can afford it? Is the city accessible to everyone then or to only the knowledge bearers? Is the city’s beauty as portrayed by the higher authority leads to few people being side-lined? And the new ideas of co-housing really the change-maker? The reflections on these questions and the discovery of beautiful solutions will undoubtedly guide me in making more informed decisions in the future as a change- maker. 

Being a country that has a profound history and the idea of counter-memorialization by Artist Gunter which questions the forced idea of presenting history to today’s people, the project took me back to India. It took me to War Memorial as seen in Delhi or other memorials when I prepare myself with pre thoughts to going to those places and then the emotions are heightened seeing the built and the way it is curated across. However, stumbling upon a stone with no preconceived notions during my travels to Berlin after Heidelberg, I experienced a moment of pause. Each time I encountered the stone, I couldn’t resist sharing its story with those around me. The moment lasted for 2 min, and the journey continued. The interplay of time, memory, and the contrast between being mentally prepared and encountering something unexpected is what needs to be thought about in giving any city its identity. 

During an unforgettable journey guided by Zehra, the emerging dialogue between her and the shopkeepers raised crucial questions about space ownership, conflicts, and the notions of “my space” versus “your space.” Above all, it delved into the profound themes of freedom and self-expression. 

To me, Heidelberg is something that will always remain close to my heart. My favourite moments as captured by me:

Figure 2 Ice cream Delight


Figure 3 The golden reflection


Figure 4 Happiness before the fireworks


Figure 5 The Joyful greens


Participants Bio

Deepali Khunteta an architect and emerging urban designer, she is driven by a profound belief in the power of a people-centric approach to design. She worked with a multidisciplinary studio, ‘Studio Lotus’ for two years and then completed her post-graduation from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, in 2023, with a specialization in Urban Design, thus gaining valuable experience.

Being an avid explorer, she love to document people, capturing their stories through her lens. She believe each person associates a space with a memory of their own, and hence every space speaks distinctive narratives of the past, reflections of the present, and aspirations for the future. For her, authenticity, and integrity are paramount, guiding every step of my creative journey.

With a commitment to creating meaningful spaces that resonate with people's lives, she embark on future endeavors with unwavering passion and purpose, embracing adaptability and resilience along the way.