Professor of Urban Planning
Nihal Perera is Professor and interim chair of the department and the founder and director of CapAsia one of the best immersive learning programs in the country. The object of the program is to “learn from” people by doing projects with host country peers with the aim of learning about themselves. Dr. Perera has taught in China, Germany, India, Italy, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. He has led the internationalization of the department and has introduced classes pertaining to cultural diversity and field research. His students have received numerous research awards.
The two-time Fulbright Scholar (China and Myanmar) was also senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore and a Melting Pot Fellow at KMITL, Thailand. His grants include three Fulbright-Hays awards, a Graham Foundation award, and was Ball State’s nominee for two national awards for international education: Heiskell and Malone.
Perera's publications include three books: Decolonizing Ceylon, Transforming Asian Cities, and People’s Spaces and journal articles and book chapters addressing topics ranging from people’s struggles in Dharavi to feminizing and familiarizing spaces and urban planing in Chandigarh and Sri Jayawardenapura. In 2016, his work was cited in the context of 20 countries.
Nihal has designed a variety of buildings including the then tallest building in Colombo and has planned in several countries. He has been the Chief Architect-Planner of the largest development project in Sri Lanka: The Mahaweli Project; engaged in regional and physical planning in the multilaterally-funded Transmigration Project in Indonesia; and briefly consulted in a few countries including China, Indonesia, and Thailand. He is closely associated with the housing policy and program development in Sri Lanka where they developed the idea of "support systems" and Community Acton Planning with MIT and DPU. He has also studied in both these institutions. He is currently helping two people-based development projects in Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Nihal Perera website.