Urban India

The Carnival of the ‘Common Man’

As the Indian government pursues its ambitious national ‘smart cities’ agenda, it would do well to contemplate how best to serve the needs of the ordinary people who matter and make these cities, writes Priya Shankar. 
On 14 February, Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as the Chief Minister (akin to the role of a mayor in most cities) of Delhi […]

March 11th, 2015|Development, Featured, Politics, Technology, Urban India|Comments Off on The Carnival of the ‘Common Man’|
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    The campaign to include India’s children in urban planning

The campaign to include India’s children in urban planning

Preeti Prada draws attention to the problem of ignoring the preferences of ‘tomorrow’s citizens’ in city planning and discusses how the Humara Bachpan campaign is seeking to address this by giving children in poor urban areas the opportunity to model their dream neighbourhoods and ask local government officials for change.

Despite the international conventions well-meaning adults, including policy makers, service […]

March 2nd, 2015|Environment, Featured, Urban India|Comments Off on The campaign to include India’s children in urban planning|

Divided in squatters, united in bias

Paroj Banerjee recently conducted an ethnographic exploration into the discrimination against Muslims living in Mumbai’s slums, as part of a wider research project by Centre for Peace Studies, India. Here she summarises her key findings.

It is commonly understood that slum dwelling automatically ascribes a status that is symptomatic of degraded form of housing, poor sanitary conditions, lack of civic […]

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    Pipe dreams: barriers to civic and social rights in an unauthorised colony

Pipe dreams: barriers to civic and social rights in an unauthorised colony

Manisha Priyam draws on ethnographic research over eight months to highlight experiences of citizens on the urban periphery. She argues that it is not lack of money but rather desperation for water and the lack of ability to make the state hear their grievances that constitutes ‘poverty’ in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies.

This is a narrative of the political from the […]

December 22nd, 2014|Development, Featured, Politics, Urban India|Comments Off on Pipe dreams: barriers to civic and social rights in an unauthorised colony|
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    Smart Cities: An opportunity for changing paradigms of urban planning and citizenship in India

Smart Cities: An opportunity for changing paradigms of urban planning and citizenship in India

The smart city concept holds an array of opportunities for future of cities and city-making in India. However, It is critical that urban planners in India acknowledge technology as merely a tool and engage with it in a way that affirms values and addresses the most pressing goals, writes Shabana Shiraz.

“Technology amplifies human intent and capacity; it does not […]

December 15th, 2014|Development, Environment, Featured, Urban India|Comments Off on Smart Cities: An opportunity for changing paradigms of urban planning and citizenship in India|

Is local autonomy the future of urban governance?

The question of whether giving cities more autonomy can result in better urban governance was a major point of discussion in the recently concluded Urban Age Conference on Governing Urban Futures in Delhi. Mathew Idiculla reports.

One of the fundamental characteristics that define the world today is that a majority of its people lives in urban areas. Urbanisation is gaining […]

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    Thought Leadership: India’s ‘Infrastructure Democracy’

Thought Leadership: India’s ‘Infrastructure Democracy’

India will need to invest over $1.2 trillion in its cities to cope with the hundreds of millions that are expected to move to urban areas in the next 20 years. Savvas Verdis argues this provides an opportunity for ‘Infrastructure Democracy’, where development is structured so that the benefits are spread to all participating cities.
I have just come back from Delhi, where […]

December 3rd, 2014|Development, Featured, Urban India|Comments Off on Thought Leadership: India’s ‘Infrastructure Democracy’|
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    We stand at a ‘critical juncture’ when questions of inequality have come to foreground public life

We stand at a ‘critical juncture’ when questions of inequality have come to foreground public life

Recent events in Delhi have been at the forefront of reshaping the national imagination. There is now visible a new assertion of citizen power, where the margins have begun to question the power and authority of the centre. Manisha Priyam argues a less conventional “vari-focal” lens is needed to interpret this new urban moment.

There is a need to focus […]

December 1st, 2014|Development, Featured, Urban India|Comments Off on We stand at a ‘critical juncture’ when questions of inequality have come to foreground public life|
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    The power of public service predictability in urban contexts

The power of public service predictability in urban contexts

Rohit Sinha and Anahita Das demonstrate how improving the predictability of service delivery has benefits for both citizens and the government.  Any trade-offs would be outweighed by benefits such as better management of public business, improved citizen trust in government and increases in the economic output of Indian cities.

Public services are usually the first point of contact for a […]

November 24th, 2014|Development, Featured, Urban India|Comments Off on The power of public service predictability in urban contexts|
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    The continuing legacy of partition in India’s urban spaces

The continuing legacy of partition in India’s urban spaces

Romola Sanyal looks at how the history of migration and refugees in India can help us to better understand issues of contemporary urbanisation in South Asian cities.

It has been 67 years since the partition of India, and yet its legacy continues to haunt the spaces and narratives of many Indian cities. These cities emerged through the ashes of violent […]

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