ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Ashima SoodSubscribe to Ashima Sood

Greenfield Development as Tabula Rasa

Greenfield urban development can be seen as an enduring idiom of politics in India, with state initiative from precolonial times to the present day responsible for establishing iconic capital cities such as Jaipur, Kolkata, or Chandigarh. However, a renewed interest in building new cities, variously labelled "smart," "green" or "integrated," is now accompanied by an increasing tendency to instrumentalise the urban in pursuit of economic growth and a competitive drive to attract global financial flows. Situated at the intersection of several recent literatures from speculative urbanism to theorisations of rescaling and bypass, the papers in this special issue foreground the struggles over land that animate debates about these greenfield sites while looking beyond these concerns to question the urban futures they presage. Synthesising the insights from these papers, this essay flags critical issues for the politics of urban development and sketches pathways for future research.

Urban Multiplicities

A recent two-day international workshop on the "Governance of Megacity Regions in India" in Mumbai revealed the multiple conceptions and contestations that drive metropolitan growth in India and around the world. Though cities globally face similar competitive pressures in an era of footloose capital flows, there were few readymade models of metropolitan governance on offer. Instead the international experience suggests that democratic processes matter as much as getting institutions right. Although questions of sustainability and resilience remained an intriguing but underexplored theme in the workshop, the increasing urgency of environmental governance agendas for India's megacity regions emerged as a key area for future research and policy.

A Future for Informal Services?

A February 2010 judgment of the Delhi High Court called into question several assumptions underlying policy thinking on the cycle rickshaw sector. Examining these assumptions in the light of new research and advocacy efforts, this article considers the prospect of policy and regulatory reform. With the cycle rickshaw sector as a case study, it argues that the punitive regulatory framework governing the sector embodies the dualist or even parasitic models that inform policy on informal services more broadly. Assessing the larger viability and contribution of informal sector activities requires more attention to local and sector-specific micro-processes.

Vendor Street

Street Vendors in the Global Urban Economy edited by Sharit Bhowmik (New Delhi: Routledge), 2010; pp 320, Rs 695.

Invisible Labour

Circular Migration and Multilocational Livelihood Strategies in Rural India edited by Priya Deshingkar and John Farrington (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2009.

Accounting for Economic Performance

Report of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress by Joseph E Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi
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