Indian cities are mechanisms for social engineering—more powerful than anything we have seen before. They will transform this country. A Place in the Shade explores architectural and urban issues in India, from the house as a machine for dealing with our often hostile climate, to the metaphysical role of architecture as a Model of the Cosmos. This reflective, provocative and consistently readable collection of essays argues that our habitat must respond to the overriding parameters of climate, culture and financial resources and that our physical environment should accommodate notions of inclusion and diversity, and that priceless quality of synergy which characterizes a city. Charles Correa identifies the defining issues of the urbanization process that is so rapidly transforming India. He writes, ‘You cannot look at cities without wandering into architecture on the one hand and politics on the other.’ Tragically, over the last few decades, urban real estate has become the primary source of financing for political parties and the politicians who run them. But our towns and cities are assets too precious to be squandered in this manner. Like the wheat fields of Punjab and the coal fields of Bihar, cities are a crucial part of our national wealth. Their success—or their failure—will determine our future.