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Who we are

Who we are


Sensing Local Foundation is an ‘Urban Living Lab’ (ULL) based in Bengaluru, which is to be a site for city observation, learning and innovation with a specific focus on improving the state of environment and public health. As a model, it serves as an in-between-step that formalizes learning and experimentation in the urban context to achieve impact at a faster pace for the largest section of society. The prime thrust of the Living Lab is to behave as a catalyst for the ecosystem of city’s decision makers, and ‘break through’ the trap of repetitive, fragmented, myopic actions.



Getting to know the 'current state' and designing possible 'future states'


Baselining the issue


Real-life testing of one or more proposed 'future states'


Assessing the impact of the experiment with regards to the 'current state' in order to iterate the 'future state'
Strategy for scale
Assessing Impact

Guiding Principles

Humanizing the Issues

Keep everyday experience of people at the centre of a problem solving process

Active experimentation

To test ideas and pilot solutions in real life settings before implementation

Working across governance scales

Working at the ward, city and state level to ensure sustainability of solutions

Building multi-sectoral partnership

Building collaborations, bringing diverse viewpoints,  and promote systemic thinking

Public making of projects

Involving people in co-creation of solutions to build ownership and inclusiveness

Bringing policy to the doorstep

Aligning local interventions with national/state policies to ensure impact

Our Team


Sobia Rafiq



Sobia is an Architect and Urbanist, whose main focus is on tackling Solid Waste Management issues in the city of Bengaluru, through introducing systems thinking, strategic planning, data analytic & GIS mapping.

She has also led Smart City plans for Tumakuru and Thiruvananthapuram and projects under Swachh Bharat Mission in India.  As an architect, she has worked primarily in the social sector, with organizations like NIVASA, S3IDF and Selco Foundation. She is originally from Bengaluru, India and has completed her B.Arch from Manipal University and MSc. in City Design and Social Science from the LSE Cities, London School of Economics & Political Science, UK.

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Ankit Bhargava


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Ankit is an architect and urban planner with 8 years of experience in projects in relating to spatial planning, urban governance, system design, and architecture. His core interest is understanding how do we disrupt the trajectory of development of Indian cities that is set up in a way to invariably perpetuate environmental exploitation and stresses that deepen social and economic inequalities and hinder chances of increasing quality of life for all. He is also deeply interested in using systems thinking and participatory processes to unpack complex problems and shape new perspectives to drive systemic change. He has completed his Masters in Urbanism from TU Delft, Netherlands.

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Our Advisors

Madhav Chavan

Co-founder & former CEO, Pratham


Madhav is co-founder and former CEO of Pratham, one of India's largest, and most impactful nonprofits. Madhav is the 2012 recipient of the WISE Prize for Education, the most coveted recognition in education. He also received the 2011 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Madhav has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Ohio State University.

Ram Mahidhara

International Infrastructure and Emerging Markets Executive

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Ram Mahidhara is an independent international executive with significant experience in infrastructure and emerging markets. Until May 2019, Ram was a Chief Investment Officer, Infrastructure & Natural Resources at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), where he spent 22 years. Ram has over 25 years of infrastructure and emerging markets experience in 32 countries and has lived and worked in 3 continents. His regional specialization includes Latin America (5 years), sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 9 years), and Asia (2.5 years).  His sectoral specialization includes power, transport, water, oil, gas, mining and telecom. Ram has a PhD in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Poonam Bir Kasturi

CEO Daily Dump


Poonam Bir Kasturi trained as an industrial designer graduated in 1985. Her current project called Daily Dump – Compost at Home began in 2006 April. So she spends her time figuring out which is the best way to get everyone to compost at home, make friends with maggots and understand that having a clean city starts from how you throw daily.  The word “Sustainable” in her head is all about understanding the patterns of interconnectedness.  Her previous work in the small scale industry, crafts, design education all inform her current project. She enjoys the mundane and knows there are lots of things she does not understand, especially the idea of the imaginary number.

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Pawan Sachdeva

Director - Water Management International Pte. Limited


Pawan is the director of Water Management International Pte Limited (WMPIL), a business and management consulting firm focused on Asian Urban Water Utilities. After spending 20 years in public market investing, Pawan took a decisive break from the field of finance and started focusing on the urban water sector (2015 onwards). Since then he has been advising on Strategic, Financial and Policy aspects of Urban Water Utilities and in benchmarking global water utilities. Pawan has a Masters in Public Administration, Public Policy from Lee Luan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore and an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B).

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Pallavi Pant

Staff Scientist at Health Effects Institute, Boston

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Dr. Pant is a Staff Scientist at Health Effects Institute, based in Boston, MA. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Health from the University of Birmingham, UK where she studied urban air pollution. She completed her postdoctoral research training in exposure science at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts- Amherst. Her research has focused on characterization and assessment of urban air pollution, particularly in India, and she has written a variety of peer-reviewed and popular media articles on air pollution.

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Our Advisors
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