Watch the full video (above) of the CPR – CSH (Centre de Sciences Humaines) workshop on ‘Unthinking Urbanisation: How Urban and Messy is India’s Urbanisation?’ featuring Partha Mukhodpadhyay.
Recently, India’s urbanisation has been characterised as ‘messy’. At various times, it has been described as unplanned and chaotic. In this context, this talk primarily engaged with two questions. First, it asked if Indian cities are urban — are they urban in all dimensions, economic, social, political, and spatial? Second — and without prejudice to the answer to the first question and stipulating that an urbanisation process is underway — it asked what does it mean to say that Indian urbanisation is messy, that it is a thoughtless, unplanned sprawl? Is there another way of looking at the urbanisation process? Drawing upon multiple qualitative, quantitative, and spatial data sources, this talk argued first, that in many respects, Indian cities may not yet be urban. Further, the apparent messiness is the result of shortcomings in the public response to relatively normal and predictable individual actions. Consequently, we need to discuss how the public response can be improved rather than adopt punitive measures that penalise rational individual behaviour.
Partha Mukhopadhyay is a Senior Fellow at CPR.