Ashima Krishna, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
ashimakr@buffalo.edu - 335 Hayes Hall - (716) 829-5325

Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
ashimakr@buffalo.edu 335 Hayes Hall - (716) 829-5325

Daniel B. Hess portrait at metro station.

Ashima Krishna (third from left), leads a tour of historic homes in Buffalo as part of graduate studio in urban planning. Photo by Maryanne Schultz

Ashima Krishna is an architect and historic preservation planner whose research spans the management of historic urban landscapes, and adaptive reuse of religious historic structures and landscapes. Dr. Krishna has examined issues related to historic preservation planning and urban conservation in United States and India and continues to highlight the ways in which the historic built environment can be preserved, managed, and planned for.

Over the years she has worked on various projects dealing with architectural and landscape design, architectural and urban conservation, interior design, urban development, and adaptive reuse. Her principal interests remain in the preservation and conservation of built heritage and how they interface with issues of management and local governance, and especially how the management of heritage affects the way in which planners and architects shape the built environment.

Krishna fell in love with the rich history - both tangible and intangible - that surrounded her in her hometown of Lucknow, India. The northern Indian city of 2.8 million - a mid-sized city by India's standards - is incredibly proud of its history, says Krishna, who has studied the city's religious architecture. "Lucknow encapsulates the best of the relationship between Hindu and Muslim communities, and is also home to Sikh, Christian, Parsi, and other communities that make for a very rich social and cultural experience. That diversity is reflected in the city's architecture."

Krishna is now proud to call Buffalo home. A Rust Belt city undergoing a resurgence in nearly every corner, Buffalo is an ideal laboratory for the study of urban planning and architecture and historic preservation, according to Krishna. She points to Buffalo's Outer Harbor as a powerful representation of the city's past, present and future. "It encapsulates all that is essential Buffalo: its production history, its relationship to the Great Lakes, its diverse flora and fauna, and also the follies of twentieth century that act as a cautionary tale to the architects and planners of today and tomorrow."  

A dedicated professor and mentor to her students, Krishna serves as program director for the School of Architecture and Planning's graduate programs in historic preservation. "I enjoy sharing my passion for cities, their history, and their preservation with students. Often, that translates into students adopting urban history or historic preservation into their career goals." Krishna teaches documentation and field research methods in historic preservation, global perspectives in urban planning, as well as core courses and studios in the Master of Urban Planning program.

She holds a PhD in International Planning from Cornell University School of Art, Architecture and Planning, where she also earned a Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Planning. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture (New Delhi, India). She has received numerous awards for her research, including the a fellowship from the Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies and a Global Heritage Fund Preservation Fellowship to study the impact of India’s federally funded initiatives through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) on historic sites in Agra, India.

I enjoy sharing my passion for cities, their history, and their preservation with students. Often, that translates into students adopting urban history or historic preservation into their career goals.

 - Ashima Krishna

Recent News

8/30/19
In up-and-coming neighborhoods, old churches are often converted to apartments or offices. But what about the vacant or underused churches in areas that aren't attractive to developers? In an article published in The Conversation, Ashima Krishna explores the conversion of vacant Christian churches in Buffalo into new places of worship as a strategy for preserving architecture and strengthening burgeoning immigrant and refugee populations in post-industrial cities across the U.S.  
9/28/15
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, an important piece of Buffalo's architectural and cultural history, is now officially on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks, in part, to the efforts of students in the School of Architecture and Planning's historic preservation program. 
3/31/14

The School of Architecture and Planning is now offering two new programs in historic preservation: A master of science in architecture degree, and an 18-credit advanced certificate program.

 

Media Mentions

8/30/19
In up-and-coming neighborhoods, old churches are often converted to apartments or offices. But what about the vacant or underused churches in areas that aren't attractive to developers? In an article published in The Conversation, Ashima Krishna explores the conversion of vacant Christian churches in Buffalo into new places of worship as a strategy for preserving architecture and strengthening burgeoning immigrant and refugee populations in post-industrial cities across the U.S.  

Courses

6/26/18
This course addresses research methods and documentation techniques used in preservation planning to identify and record historic structures and sites. 
6/26/18
The final exercise for the Master of Urban Planning asks you to demonstrate your capabilities as a planner by preparing a planning report of professional quality on a specific place. 
6/26/18

This course takes students on a journey through heritage and preservation thought from around the world, and introduces them to globally prevalent theories and perspectives in preserving cultural heritage sites and landscapes, with the overarching theme of attempting to understand how different cultures and contexts deal with rights to cultural heritage. 

6/26/18
Join us for interactive sessions with preservationists, architects, planners, developers, and professionals to learn more about preservation practice and professional life. This is an excellent opportunity to network with professionals and learn more about the field. 
6/26/18
This course is designed to introduce you to the phenomenon of ‘the city’ and ‘the metropolis’, terms more popularly used to describe our urban environment. 

Education

  • Ph.D. in International Planning with a focus on Historic Preservation Planning, Cornell University (2014)
  • Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Planning, Cornell University (2009)
  • Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture (New Delhi, India), 2005

Selected activities, honors and awards

  • Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies research fellowship to conduct fieldwork in India (2011-12)
  • Global Heritage Fund Preservation Fellowship, to study the impact of India’s federally funded initiatives through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) on historic sites in Agra, India (2011) 

Research

Interior views of the Jami Masjid center of worship in Buffalo show windows replaced and Turkish carpeting for Islamic prayer. The church's murals have also been painted sky blue and the walls adorned with Arabic calligraphy.

Recent research by Krishna examined faith-to-faith conversion of historic churches in Buffalo, revealing new opportunities for preservation and adaptive reuse of religious architecture in Buffalo. Photo by Krishna and Enjoli Hall

Ashima Krishna's research focuses on the preservation of cultural heritage through the management of historic urban landscapes in developing countries like India, the adaptive reuse of religious historic structures and landscapes, and the exploration of contemporary problems with world heritage sites in the developing world.

Krishna directly engages local stakeholders in her research on historic urban landscapes in Buffalo and around the world. Her methods include intensive primary research through interviews with community members and stakeholders to reveal the histories and stories behind an issue. Says Krishna, "Academia can often be a great tool to amplify community voices. This is a responsibility I owe to both planning and preservation - both fields and professions cannot exist without the input of the communities in which they occur."

Students and early-career alumni are also frequent collaborators in her work. Krishna says she believes in extending such opportunities as first-hand learning experiences in historic preservation research methods. Students and recent graduates have served as co-authors in Krishna's recent publications. 

Looking ahead, Krishna says the professions of architecture and urban planning, and subfields like historic preservation, must rise to the challenge of creating, and preserving, socially just spaces and places. "Developments in ensuring our physical, political, and institutional environments are just and equitable will need to be addressed as urgently as issues of climate change."

Featured Projects and Publications

8/30/19
Assistant professor of urban planning Ashima Krishna and Masters of Urban Planning graduate Enjoli Hall examine the conversion of former churches on the East Side of Buffalo as they are transformed into spaces for other faiths.
4/14/17
Ashima Krishna, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, contributes this chapter of Urban Archaeology, Municipal Government and Local Planning: Preserving Heritage within the Commonwealth of Nations and the United States, edited by Sherene Baugher, Douglas R. Appler and William Moss.
1/30/16
Assistant professor of urban planning Ashima Krishna examines historic preservation in Lucknow, India.
10/8/14
Assistant professor of urban planning Ashima Krishna examines preservation of historic Hindu temples in India.