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

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The Violence of Worlding

Over the last two decades, the state-led production of space, as part of worlding cities, has introduced new structural violences into the lives of poor groups in Durban, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro, and has met with resistance. Three main mechanisms have been adopted to produce space—infrastructure and mega-projects, redevelopment, and creating exception regimes for “slums.” The nature of the state that enacts structural violence through worlding processes is simultaneously “strong” and “weak.” It is strong in its bid to open up new spaces for capital accumulation that integrate specific economic circuits, classes and groups “globally,” while weak in its responsibility to protect and strengthen the life chances and claims of poor groups/spaces.

How a Participatory Process Can Matter in Planning the City

While Indian cities experience newer challenges, and city visions are increasingly grandiose, planning continues to be straitjacketed. Looking specifically at the process so far in the creation of Mumbai's third Development Plan, the article traces people's collectivisation around the DP, as well as the nuances and outcomes of this participation. While highlighting larger challenges in planning for the city, it has emphasised the importance of local government autonomy and its responsibility to respond to local needs.

Planning as Practice?

Solapur is a town in Maharashtra with a vibrant industrial legacy, yet fraught with spatial and socio-economic divisions in the contemporary moment. It shows a pattern of largely informal development and the gradual emergence of a new industry and politics centred on land. This paper which throws light on the evolution and dynamics of urbanisation arising in Solapur, brings out the disconnects that cut across its industrial, spatial, political and social landscapes and reveals a town functioning at low levels of industrial dynamism and physical and social infrastructure, characterised by high levels of poverty.

New Policy Paradigms and Actual Practices in Slum Housing

Recent reform programmes for achieving "slum-free" cities, like the Basic Services for the Urban Poor, signal a new integrated approach to slum redevelopment that combines housing, infrastructure and land titling. The new policy paradigm speaks the language of inclusiveness and efficiency, but its outcome has been far from ideal. This study examines two housing projects in Bengaluru to reveal how core elements of the new programme drive inconsistencies, even distortions, on the ground, impinging on the urban local body's ability to deliver on the ambitious aim of providing affordable housing in sizeable numbers. It argues that the new approach to housing projects is overlaid on the conventional "public housing built by contractors chosen by tender" framework and this poses fresh challenges to already beleaguered local bodies.

Rural Water Access: Governance and Contestation in a Semi-Arid Watershed in Udaipur, Rajasthan

A significant focus of policy in recent years has been to devolve decision-making and management of water systems to the community level. This paper is based on a study of a minor irrigation project in the semi-arid Udaipur district of Rajasthan, where the livelihoods of people in the watershed are dependent on canal water and there are serious inequalities in the distribution of water within and between villages. This study points to both the social and spatial dimensions of inequalities in access to water. It also focuses on governance arrangements and highlights inequalities that arise from the delegation of management of water systems to communities. These reflect the democratic deficit in local governance institutions and, in turn, the larger political economy.

Piped Water Supply to Greater Bangalore: Putting the Cart before the Horse?

Cities in India are moving towards commercially viable models of urban water and sanitation delivery to fill the widening gap between demand and supply. Cost recovery through upfront beneficiary contributions is increasingly becoming a key consideration in the provision of piped water and sewerage. This paper examines the Greater Bangalore Water and Sanitation Project, a project that aims to extend piped water from the Cauvery to over two million residents in peri-urban Bangalore. The paper critically evaluates the project and makes four interlinked arguments: (1) Upfront payments from citizens have not guaranteed timely and satisfactory service. (2) The project's financial model is disconnected from actually existing settlement and urbanisation patterns, thus delaying water delivery and undermining accountability. (3) The project's highly centralised decision-making process has resulted in low political buy-in and public acceptance. (4) Modifications to the original financial model have been crucial in sustaining credibility and getting the project off the ground.

Limits and Possibilities of Middle Class Associations as Urban Collective Actors

Studies on Resident Welfare Associations draw attention to their predominantly middle class and exclusive character. Based on survey and ethnographic data on such associations across diverse neighbourhoods in Bangalore, this paper reveals the fractured, often contradictory, nature of claims made by different sections of middle class. The category urban "middle class" is too homogeneous to account for the multiple locations, interests, and varied access to power of different sections. Homogenising the middle class produces a "middle class-urban poor" dualism which elides critical factors shaping middle class mobilisation, internal conflicts, and local histories and geographies of development of specific neighbourhoods that are integrally linked to land values. This mapping of middle class action also contributes to our understanding of the process of structuration of urban spaces as new strategies are deployed to transform Indian cities.
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