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

Review of Urban AffairsSubscribe to Review of Urban Affairs

Analysing Urban Growth Boundary Effects on the City of Bengaluru

Bengaluru is encircled by a green belt, instituted as an urban growth boundary to contain sprawl, ensure equitable growth, and preserve lung spaces. Urban growth boundaries the world over are typically known to drive land prices higher in the inner city area by artificially limiting the supply of land. Bengaluru has witnessed significant increases in land prices over the last decade. This paper examines whether the green belt in Bengaluru has had a significant effect on land prices through an analysis of price differentials inside and outside the growth boundaries. It also debates the relevance of a green belt as an urban containment tool in regimes characterised by ineffective provision of infrastructure and lax implementation of zoning regulations.

Delusory Transformations

Many policy experts have pointed out that the lack of capacity in urban local bodies resulted in poor implementation of projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. This paper presents findings from case studies of two transport infrastructure projects in Dehradun city to demonstrate that the reasons for the unexpected outcomes were of a more complex nature. Instead of local governments, all proposals were drawn up by consultants operating under unrealistic deadlines. Project proposals were prepared with an excessive focus on target expenditure and infrastructure creation. The paper emphasises that implementing such programmes requires an effective institutional design that bridges the gap between local governments in small cities and grant-making agencies at higher levels.

Patterns and Practices of Spatial Transformation in Non-Metros

Urban transformation in Tiruchengode town in Tamil Nadu has been predominantly driven by processes internal to it. It has been driven by growth of the town's economy and the practice of entrepreneurs investing in land for capital accumulation. The process described in this paper reinforces the theories of subaltern urbanisation and in situ urbanisation. While the role of the town's entrepreneurs, local landowners, and politics have been significant factors in shaping the evolution and development of its economy, the transformation story has also been shaped by supra-local flows of capital and labour from the region.

The Politics of Classification and the Complexity of Governance in Census Towns

Spontaneous urbanisation through the transfer of capital from the agricultural sector to the commercial sector has given rise to a large number of census towns in West Bengal. These settlements are cases of denied urbanisation, where the territory takes an urban shape but infrastructure and services remain poor under rural local governments that lack resources. Some of these towns retain their census town status for decades, and basic services are neglected until they achieve urban status. Based on empirical research carried out in Singur, a census town in West Bengal, this paper looks at the nature of urbanisation in these towns and tries to trace the role of politics in controlling access to urban status. It also explores the complexity of governance in census towns and surrounding urban areas.

Intentions, Design and Outcomes

This paper examines the implementation of the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme in the smaller cities of Maharashtra. It discusses the reasons behind the poor quantitative and qualitative performance of the IHSDP in the state and examines why the programme has not been a success, either in terms of the completion rate or beneficiary satisfaction.

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.

Changing Structure of Governance in Non-Metropolitan Cities

Globalisation has brought forward new modes of governance and technological options to urban local bodies in India in the last two decades. New governance mechanisms inspired by neo-liberal thinking make claims about making cities function better, substantially improving basic infrastructure and public services, and increasing local democratic participation. But a study conducted in two non-metropolitan cities in Andhra Pradesh indicates that the state has promoted public-private partnerships, outsourcing and contracting out in a way that serves private interests rather than social interests. The disparities between poor residents and non-poor residents have increased and caste plays an increased role in decision-making bodies, though through a so-called inclusive participatory approach.

The Regularising State

This article discusses a form of informality widely prevalent in small and medium cities in Maharashtra, called gunthewari. It is an examination of the practice of regularisation of these gunthewaris, and its relationship to other domains of urban governance. It argues that regularisation is an attempt to create a constant state of exception. Regularisation enables the abdication of state responsibility for public housing and planning, while engaging in tokenistic exercises of welfare.

On the Charts, Off the Tracks

This paper on Ambur town of Tamil Nadu, an important hub for leather goods production, catering primarily to an international market, explores how the town's proximity to a metropolis can be a source of underdevelopment rather than a spur to steady and rapid urbanisation. It puts the spotlight back on a class of small industrial towns, where the dirty work of production, particularly of recycling industrial cast-offs, assembling secondary products and catering to low-end domestic markets is not moved out of urban spaces. Instead it is kept hemmed into unplanned and unserviced town spaces, while large formal manufacturing firms colonise rural hinterlands. It also highlights how disconnects among sectors, space and place can keep a town at low levels of dynamism and social welfare.

Territorial Legends

Exploring how the policy of protection of indigenous people works on the ground in Pasighat, a town in Arunachal Pradesh, this paper brings out the interlinkages between urban politics and indigeneity as an entitlement regime. Once boundaries are operationalised on the basis of territorial belonging, politics revolves around who is from a particular place and who is not. This has created opportunities for accumulation for the indigenous people through rents. The state simultaneously installs and destabilises this politics of indigeneity. The paper shows how the state and capital are implicated in the structures of enfranchisement that have historically shaped the town.

Moving around in Indian Cities

Seven years after the National Urban Transport Policy was announced by the central government, the problems identified in it remain the same, or have worsened. Land use planning has not enabled the lower-income groups to live closer to work, road use is more dominated by private vehicles, and there is little money to improve facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. This paper notes that though much of the basic data on urban transport in India is unreliable, there is enough to show that the challenge is to keep the share of non-personal transport at 70% as incomes increase in our cities. For this, walking and bicycling have to be made safer and public transport more attractive by making it readily available.

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