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

Marie-Helene ZerahSubscribe to Marie-Helene Zerah

Mission Impossible

In the wake of the global enthusiasm for smart cities, the central government launched the ambitious Smart Cities Mission in 2015. Based on a detailed analysis of proposals of the top 60 cities, the mission is located within the larger urban reform process initiated in the 1990s. An attempt has been made to define smart cities to understand how they envisage questions of urban transformations, inclusion and democracy. The proposals reveal an excessive reliance on consultants, lack of effective participation, a common set of interventions that are accepted as “smart solutions,” and a shift towards greater control of urban local bodies by state governments.

Subaltern Urbanisation in India

The concept of subaltern urbanisation refers to the growth of settlement agglomerations, whether denoted urban by the Census of India or not, that are independent of the metropolis and autonomous in their interactions with other settlements, local and global. Analysing conventional and new data sources "against the grain", this paper claims support for the existence of such economically vital small settlements, contrary to perceptions that India's urbanisation is slow, that its smaller settlements are stagnant and its cities are not productive. It offers a classification scheme for settlements using the axes of spatial proximity to metropolises and degree of dministrative recognition, and looks at the potential factors for their transformation along economic, social and political dimensions. Instead of basing policy on illusions of control, understanding how agents make this world helps comprehend ongoing Indian transformations.

Middle Class Neighbourhood Associations as Political Players in Mumbai

The activities of many middle class neighbourhood associations in Mumbai have gone beyond confronting and cooperating with the local administration in order to protect the quality of life in their areas to being concerned with improved governance. This article looks at the engagement of these associations with local politics through a study of advanced locality management units and their role in the recent civic elections and to understand if there is a process of political mobilisation. It also attempts to study their strategies, the relationship between participative and representative democracy based on their activities and their vision of urban society.
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