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Sonal Shah

Executive Director, Centre of Sustainable and Equitable Cities

Founder, The Urban Catalysts,

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Sonal graduated from the MSc Urban Planning program from Columbia University. She was featured as a Remarkable Women in Transport 2020. In 2023, she and The Urban Catalysts were recognized as Remarkable Feminist Voices in Transport by the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany). She received an award by the Global Council for Promotion of International Trade (GCPIT) for her work towards sustainable
development goals.

Sonal Shah is the Executive Director of the Centre of Sustainable and Equitable Cities and the founder of The Urban Catalysts, advising multiple stakeholders – governments, development banks, philanthropic organizations and think tanks on sustainable, gender equitable city planning and transport.


Over the last 15 years, Sonal has worked across 10 states in India, South and Central Asia, Middle East, and the United States focusing on sustainable, gender equitable cities and transport. Sonal was responsible for introducing India’s first gender sensitive urban planning guidelines and revising India’s national urban street design guidelines (IRC codes) to make them people-oriented.


Sonal has led projects supported by the World Bank, AfD, UK Aid, ADB, IKI, Oak Foundation, Gates Foundation, GIZ and Bloomberg Philanthropies. She has taught at numerous institutions such as the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Anant National University, KRVIA, Academy of Architecture and the JJ School of Architecture.

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