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

Ratoola KunduSubscribe to Ratoola Kundu

Making Sense of Place in Rajarhat New Town

The West Bengal government's plan to develop the Rajarhat new township on the periphery of Kolkata in the mid-1990s unwittingly produced an urban landscape that contradicts the master plan. The new town is fragmented into a formal network of roads and gated residential high-rise complexes on the one hand, and dense urban villages with traditional housing layouts on the other. Urban villages and gated communities represent a continuum of new urban living which is marked by a constant need to make sense of the changed reality through varied strategies of place-making. These are in response to the multiple ways in which inhabitants of these very distinct settlement types have been unsettled by urbanisation. The particular emphasis of this paper is on the lived life of inhabitants--examining routine activities that go into the material and social construction of place as well as how place influences social interactions, livelihoods and aspirations.

Selective Inclusions and Exclusions

Ratnagiri, a small town on the western coast of Maharashtra, is an important urban settlement in the Konkan region. This article examines the town's uneven spatial and economic development by focusing on the fishing and tourism sectors, highlighting the historically generated and socially produced contradictions and contestations within and between them. It argues that the very instruments of spatial planning meant to address uneven development end up reinforcing and exacerbating existing spatio-social and political inequalities. It goes on to trace the processes by which spatial planning becomes an arena where regulations are bent and flouted by directly influencing local and state-level actors through a negotiated approach to planning.
Back to Top