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Nipesh Palat Narayanan

Areas of expertise

Critical geography , Southern Theory , Urban Informality

Assistant Professor


+1 (514) 499-4054


Urbanisation Culture Société Research Centre

385 Sherbrooke Street E.
Montreal, Quebec  H2X 1E3

See the research centre

Research interests

  • Southern Theory/ Everyday infrastructures/ Urban Imageries
  • Culinary Cultures/ Street Food
  • Critical Geography/ Urban Informality/ Urban Planning and Policies

Nipesh Palat Narayanan is an Assistant Professor at the Centre Urbanisation Culture Société, of the INRS. His research explores knowledge hegemonies by investigating everyday infrastructures, informal practices, and culinary cultures.

He did his undergraduate studies in architecture, postgraduate studies in Urban Design and doctorate in geography. He has worked on various architectural and urban projects in India for 10 years, including development plans, affordable housing, infrastructure planning, and participatory neighbourhood redevelopments. He has done fieldwork in India and Sri Lanka. Before coming to Montreal, he worked at universities in India, Switzerland, Australia, Sri Lanka, France, and Italy.

  • Assistant Professor, INRS – Urbanisation Culture Société (since 2022)
  • Research Fellow, Laboratory for Social Geography (LAGeS), University of Florence, Italy (2020-2022)
  • Research Associate, Laboratoire de Science Sociales (PACTE), University Grenoble Alpes, France (2020-2022)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Sociology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka (2018-2020)
  • Research Fellow, Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia (2017)
  • PhD in Geography, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (2014-2018)
  • MArch in Urban Design, School of Planning and Architecture Delhi, India (2009-2011)
  • Bachelor of Architecture, National Institute of Technology Calicut, India (2003-2008)

Constructing the urban via food : Comparing Montreal and Delhi

Funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) – Institutional Grant

Culinary cultures which are usually associated with a region are being more and more studies and understood from the confines of the city. Cities are both branded and imagined using food. Contrarily, there are regulatory frameworks (planning and others) that restrict food especially in public places (e.g., restrictions on street food). This contradiction, of simultaneously promoting and restricting food, presents an opportunity to study food in order to understand how cities are understood/ pictures/ worked-upon (both by the state and the residents). This project intends to be a pilot, to develop a larger project on the construction of urban via food, by juxtaposing cases from Montreal and Delhi.



Social Construction of Canals – Uncovering rationalities of aesthetics and public health in Colombo

Funded by – British Council South Asia Small-Scale Research Project Scheme (2019-21) (Link)



Formal-Informal dichotomies of South Asian cities: Juxtaposing World-class Delhi and the Colombo Megapolis

Funded by – Swiss National Science Foundation (2018-2020) (Link)



Tracing the public discourse of slums in India

Funded by – Swiss National Science Foundation (2017) (Link)



Palat Narayanan, N. (forthcoming). The making of slums: An analysis of Indian parliamentary debates, 1953–2014. Economic and Political Weekly.

Palat Narayanan N (2022) Delhi ke momos mast hote hain: Constructing the city through food. Rivista geografica italiana (4). 4: 81–98. DOI: 10.3280/rgioa4-2022oa15000.

Palat Narayanan, N. (2022). « Bath » packets and multiple Colombo(s): Food and gendered urban experience. Anthropology of Food.

Palat Narayanan, N. (2022). Dislocating Urban Theory: Learning with Food‐Vending Practices in Colombo and Delhi. Antipode, 54(2), 526–544.

Palat Narayanan, N. (2021). Southern Theory without a North: City Conceptualization as the Theoretical Metropolis. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 111(4), 989–1001.

Palat Narayanan, N. (2020). The Delhi Bias: Knowledge hegemony of India’s slum governance. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 41(1), 105–119.

Palat Narayanan, N. (2020). World-class as a provincial construct: Historicizing planning in Colombo and Delhi. Planning Theory, 19(3), 268–284.

Palat Narayanan, N. (2019). The production of informality and everyday politics: Drinking water and solid waste management in Jagdamba Camp, Delhi. City, 23(1), 83–96.

Palat Narayanan, N., & Véron, R. (2018). Informal production of the city: Momos, migrants, and an urban village in Delhi. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 36(6), 1026–1044.



Palat Narayanan, N., Cornea, N., Dhesi, S., & Shreshtha, P. (2022). Ways of Knowing. Open Access.