An online public archive of resources & research centered around the urban

Master’s Thesis
As part of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance (MUPG), students undertake research on concerns related to the urban with the aim of producing a thesis at the end of the course. A few selected abstracts are featured below.


MSc in Urban Policy and Governance (2014-16)

Delhi's Mohalla Sabhas: Participation and Party Building                              Kirthi Rao

This study examines the participatory budgeting process initiated by the Aam Aadmi Party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi with its multiple turf-conscious governments, agencies and departments and seeks to use qualitative methods to trace its possible trajectories. The study finds that though the first round has already managed to put in place a coordination mechanism, it has had only an insubstantial imprint on the residents’ engagement practices with local state. The limited capacity of Delhi’s state government to ‘move the state closer to people’ is a reason but so is the output-oriented conversation that the government itself set in motion. The study argues that the process internalised a bureaucratic understanding of people as not interested in governance processes. Also, the fledgling new party itself believed it could mobilise the power of the state to establish itself as a ‘solver’ of governance problems and build a groundswell of support for itself and its process. While the former led to people viewing the process as a forgettable exercise linked to the budget, the latter did not work with delays due to the city’s tangled governance structures leaving little to talk about. The study shows that realising the Party’s vision requires much more capacity within the state to be built through negotiations with other tiers of government over time and much more support from and for the residents. Since ‘being talked about’ has arguably been an imperative for the two years old Party, the process could be reviewed or even suspended.

Trifurcation or Means of Appropriation?  (A study of Process, Rationale and Impact of Trifurcation of Municipal Corporation of Delhi)

Apula Singh

Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in early 2012 by Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government. It was argued by the state that this division of MCD would improve administrative efficiency and accessibility. This research examines the process, rationale and impact of trifurcation while tracing the evolution of the MCD, given its unique local governance structure at the intersection of three levels of government. A review of the evolution of local government in Delhi explains how ever since the constitution of the Delhi government in 1992, it has tried to appropriate the functions of MCD. The study argues that trifurcation of MCD is one such attempt to garner control over the territory of the local government and successfully create a physical distinction in their jurisdictions. The study finds that the process did not address prior inefficiencies in the system as no attempt was made to address multiplicity of agencies, nor was an attempt made towards decentralising the local government, as recommended by the 74th CAA. The focus was to create a layer of top-level executives who can assign and monitor tasks across the bureaucracy. Although it seems that management of tasks may have improved, the benefits are nullified by a severe financial crisis which is impacting the routine operations of the Corporation. Thus in this political and administrative slugfest, it is service delivery to the residents of Delhi that has been hit.

Corporatization of Bus Transport System under DIMTS Cluster                   Animesh Mishra

Bus transport system in Delhi has a history of involvement of private players, under the supervision of State Transport Authority. Now, it is majorly provided by DTC and private operators under DIMTS. The decision making, regulating, monitoring is done by DIMTS; which started off as a Special Purpose Vehicle and now a registered company in PPP mode. The 657 different routes in Delhi have been clustered together for better monitoring and regulating purpose.
This exploratory study aims to understand the operation of DIMTS Model along with issues and challenges faced and strategy/suggestion to mitigate the same.  The first session of data collection was through interviews with bus crew, women, children, men, senior citizens. Semi-structured interviews with DIMTS planner, Chief-Road transport, AVP-Transport, GM-Transport and Senior Manager-Transport, concessioners was conducted. Empirical data collection included photographs taken during the direct and participant observation. Official documents were referred to understand the legal aspect of the model. Second session was field visit, to fill in data gaps.
Few key features of the cluster model are ITS for performance monitoring, single operator in each cluster, unified time table, pre-defined routes viability gap funding by transport department, regulatory flexibility, no penny war, gross cost model.  It is evident that the current model keeps safety, reliability, and comfort as an important criteria; thus the cluster model is public centric. Some issues on matters of sustainability, safety, reliability, space constraints of parking space need fine tuning.
The suggestions have been made for the aforesaid challenges. By using carrot and stick policy i.e. incentivizing on good performance and penalizing on under delivery of services, has worked well with cluster project. Even though the bus service is provided by private players, the state is having a better control from regulatory perspective.        

Process of making Development Plan and its impacts on various stakeholders (A case study of Palghar town)

Mohini Udaykumar Bhaisare

Planning process has evolved with various planning tools in a period of time which are evolved in an expectation to provide reforms to citizens and society. One such planning tools which is discussed in detail in this research is the process of making development plan of Palghar town in state of Maharashtra. Along with the development plan making process, the impact of the planning process on various stakeholders was also analyzed. The development plan process in Palghar not only had one dimension of planning, but other aspects like elites and politics were also involved in it which affects the life of the deprived stakeholders of the society. Analysis of development plan of Palghar
explained that there exist the practice of inclusion and exclusion within different types of stakeholders. As the elites and politicians had larger stake in planning, they became one such stakeholder to influence the development plan that it dominantly contains highly residential clusters, recreational centers, transportation, etc. Deprived stakeholders of slum area are proposed to get relocated to fringe area of town. Local market sellers are ordered to discontinue their livelihood activity alongside roads as they are creating traffic congestion. This vast difference of planning provisions to different types of stakeholders indicate that it still favors the powerful over the deprived, as there are returns when favoring elites and politicians.          

Evaluation of ‘Waste Free Jodhpur Campaign'

Akshayjyot Ratnoo

Waste Management as a practice within local urban governance has gone through many trajectories and reinventions, influenced by society and policymaking. This research is an attempt to trace how far waste management in Jodhpur city, Rajasthan, through an Extended Case Method (ECM) study. It highlights the ‘Waste Free Jodhpur’ campaign and it’s implementation, role of authorities and perception of stakeholders. How the campaign has brought conversions in the town within its duration of 18 months has been evaluated.


MSc in Urban Policy and Governance (2013-15)
Teaching- Urban Resources Knowledges

Municipal Limit Extension- Case Study of Kolhapur City                     Avadhut Abhyankar

Municipal limit extension is a process of including the surrounding area in the municipality by merging the local bodies there, in the parent municipality. The case study of Kolhapur city and its limit extension issue describes the arguments made by surrounding villages and industrial estates and other stake-holders against the proposed limit extension and also arguments made by the stake-holders who support proposed limit extension. It also analyses the provisions in the State Municipal laws, the criteria and policies regarding the limit extension. The research is done with detailed study of the two villages out of 17 proposed for merging in the city and one industrial estate out of two. The research questions the criteria for selection of villages for merging in the Kolhapur city and also focuses on the political and economic interests of various actors involved. It advocates for a concrete policy at the state level regarding the capability criteria for parent municipality, the criteria for village selection for merging in the city. It also comments on the changing nature of the villages due to proximity of city and the need for time bound decisions regarding the future of such highly urbanised boundary villages.




Suggestions to improve the implementation of urban infrastructure projects under UIDSSMT, Anantapuram water supply project.

Ranga Naresh Gurram

In India, small and medium cities are facing more challenges and issues than larger cities. Fewer projects are completed within the stipulated time. The government’s scheme and policy lacks focus on the issues related to urban infrastructure projects. At present very limited literature is available on the issues related to projects and its implementation. The study was conducted to understand challenges faced by small and medium urban local governments while implementing urban infrastructure projects through a case study of Anantapuram Water Supply Project implemented under UIDSSMT through the qualitative research approach. Delays in pre-implementation phase have a chain reaction which impacts the subsequent phases and hence projects are not completed on time. Conclusion and suggestions of this study focus on improving the pre-implementation phase of the project. It may help to complete projects and deliver urban infrastructure services on time.

Disruptive transformation of the transport sector: Assessing the possibility of a car-free city

Pratibha Ruth Caleb

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its fifth assessment report, 2014, stated that the transport sector contributed to 23 per cent of the total Green House Gas (GHG) emissions of the energy sector. With the number of automobile manufacturers increasing in the Indian market and the government policies lacking in vigour towards imposing restrictions to this industry, it is crucial that India understands the importance and benefits of public transport systems that can do more for the country than what the profits of the automobile industry can do. The study thus investigates the amount of emission savings that can be achieved given a scenario where the entire fleet of private transport in the city of Mumbai is replaced by the public transport systems. Results of the study reveal that ‘disruptive transformation’ of the urban transport sector can compete with the car culture, thus enabling the possibility of conceptualising a new system which is beyond the car system.

An Approach to Quantify Uncertainty in Climate Change and Its Implications on Vulnerability and Resilience

Shardul Sudhirrao Manurkar

The prospect of climate change and consequent sea-level rise puts additional burden on coastal cities and infrastructure. However, uncertainty associated with rise in mean sea-level and its subjective interpretation impairs effective resource management and policy decisions. This study uses Dempster-Shafer theory of belief function to objectively quantify uncertainty associated with future sea-level rise by combining evidences from historical data and regional level future projections provided by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Visakhapatnam, a city along the east coast of India has been used as a case study to illustrate the research. The result suggests that distribution of annual maximum sea-level at a given time in the future shifts towards right by projected values in future. This indicates that hydrological designs and flood risk assessment along the coast needs to be revised by accounting sea-level rise due to climate change. The study also provides a robust methodology to assess the vulnerability of coastal areas.



Role of Transport Infrastructure in Socio-Spatial Transformation of the City: A Case Study of Santacruz-Chembur Link Road

Ronjyoti Brahma

Infrastructural development is an indispensable aspect of the overall development of any city. Mumbai is undergoing changes with various mega-projects being implemented with the aim of making it a “world-class” . This research tries to understand the advantages and disadvantages of implementing such projects by focusing on such projects like Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) project. The research aims to understand the agendas and consequences brought about by employing the case study method. The study has collected data from primary as well as secondary sources in order to gain a full understanding of the same. The findings of this research revealed the various advantages that this project aimed at but also pointed out the lack of coordination among the various actors, neglecting many stakeholders and thus compromising on the overall sustainability of such projects. It tries to find the answer to the question “who benefits” from such projects and the gap between the plan and the implementation.

Public Private Partnership in the Road Sector in India: The Need to Safeguard Citizens’ Rights?

Merlyn Mathew

The author has attempted to look at Public Private Partnership in the road sector in India and how citizens need to understand better, the governance, finance and legal aspects. The road development regime is changing from public funded projects to PPP projects in order to leverage the private sector's resource raising capacity and ensuring quality operation and maintenance during its life cycle. However, such projects are inherently risky due to long planning horizons and the technology is often not standard since multiple private players are involved. The Kolhapur Integrated Road Development Project (IDRP) is the first to have the internal roads and entry points in the city be developed as part of a PPP agreement and the violence the state has seen, as a consequence of toll collection has raised it to prominence. A handbook was drawn up by the means of which citizen advocacy groups, as representatives could understand PPP projects better. Under governance, a public interest test was studied that could help the state to consider citizen surveys for the identified projects. Under finance, the Public Sector Comparator model is explained, for the citizens to understand why an alternate method of infrastructure procurement is chosen. Under legal, the provisions of the contract document have been detailed.

CITY LINES Coexistence and Conflict:A case of the Suburban Railway System in Mumbai

Nirali Joshi

The study is set out to observe the particularly challenged disposition of the suburban railway system in Mumbai as a land bound, centrally governed and operationally exclusive movement system that is also physically, historically and (for long), functionally central to the urban experience of the city. Using a qualitative research approach that is semi-historical and semi-contemporary, the study combines secondary data resources and field level explorations to present a story of interaction between the city and a Large Technical System (LTS). It reveals in the process, a complex relationship of inter-dependence between the city and the robustness of the technical system on the one hand, and human presence and large infrastructural spaces on the other. The disregard of tandem in this has ranged in implications as immediately fatal as claiming human life on a daily basis, to a looming forecast of unsustainability and eventual collapse in the capacity of the system to further respond to urban demands. It is the same process of exploration that also unravels several localised, spatial practices of appropriation and interaction that work in real time between real human presences in infrastructural spaces. These serve to negotiate the crisis of rigid jurisdictional and physical seams when pitted within the lived experience of adjacency and co-habitation in the urban environ.

Peak Electricity Demand and Global Warming in the Residential and Industrial areas of Pune: An Extreme Value Approach.

Ayush Maheshwari

Peak electricity load during summer season has an impact on electricity infrastructure and it is expected to increase further due to global warming mainly due to air-cooling load. The present study investigates the nature of electricity demand in Pune and estimates the additional demand as a consequence of temperature rise due to the global warming using extreme value theory. The results indicate that in the areas dominated by residences, peak power demand registers an average increase of three to four percent due to global warming under The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) RCP 4.5 stabilisation scenario. The study shows that electricity demands in residential areas are highly sensitive to the higher temperature ranges while industries are independent of temperature and mainly dependent on the production. The study also provides evidence for the use of solar energy to meet the peak electricity demand and establish a scope for investigation of future peak electricity load and the load on electricity infrastructure.


From Raw Materials to Final Goods: Plastic Recycling in Small Scale Enterprise

Ritika Sebastian

This study looks at those aspects of plastic recycling chains – where plastics extracted from waste are converted into pellets for reuse. Its exploratory nature attempted to follow plastic as it moves through the hands of various actors of this chain, and looks at the social and economic processes it is embedded in. It is not only the process which I attempt to look at but also its geographical spread over the city. Waste of the city, is processed in the city and sold through its markets. This phenomenon is important not only because, it is in reality how a city’s waste is dealt with, but also in its existence it is through this chain that resources are recovered, by tiny and small scale units, in the informal sector feeding the formal, through the work of its migrant populations, in urban settlements designated as ‘slums’. This study is divided into three major parts. The first, in which I examine the details of the process of mechanical recycling of plastic; the second though which I focus on the geographical spread and its location of small scale units the city; and the third though which I probe into details of how such units are structured.

Alternate Approach For Providing Rental Housing Services: A Case Study Of Bombay Development Department Chawls

Vijay Sapkal

Housing is an essential part of any human habitat but restricting access on ‘ownership’ basis discourages people to live in a city. Renting would be a good option for those who can’t access shelter in city. Public Rental Housing would be helpful to access adequate housing. But now we can think beyond it and experimenting with ‘Third Sector Development’. In this model new actors can provide housing. It could be constructed/ managed by local communities or social landlords who are the main actors. This study is based on existing situation of Naigaon BDD chawls where the services and maintenance of building structure are self managed. We can restructure this type of model to fit ‘Third Sector Housing Development’, the service provider of future housing demand. The state too should promote this kind of new approach for providing social housing.

A Detailed Study of Development Control Policy -- A case of DCR 33(7) – Mumbai

CH Lavanya

With growing population and unexpected growth of cities, urban land use planning, coordination and control becomes more complicated. This calls for a more holistic and comprehensive approach to urban spatial development. Based on different studies, it has been observed that DCR’s were treated as tools of planning a city in order to recuperate the quality of life of people. Cities of India ie Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kerala etc had opted for development control regulations (DCR). In this context, this research attempts to understand the nature of DCR, governance, local politics, actor’s role and to which extent DCR helped in shaping the city, Mumbai. My research shows that DCR and new forms of governance are trying to plan for the city but, they are defied by local politics. As a result DCR being a planning instrument, which comes into force with an intent to regulate the city development, it has partially failed to make a profound impact of ground due to improper monitoring by government institutions and not enforcing guidelines specified in the DCR33(7).

The Politics of Planning Megaprojects: A case study of the Hyderabad Metro Rail project

Arunima Rao

My dissertation is a detailed study involving an in-depth analysis of the highly contested metro rail project- Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR). I have tried to unfold the development of the project in the capital of the newly formed state in India, Telangana, examining the planning process of the HMR project in a larger political economy context by focusing on the element of statehood (re-ignition of the Telangana State Movement-2009), the governance structures and the dynamics of power relations prevailing in the historic city. This case study throws light on the socio-spatial implications and looks at why and how particular interests get represented and how they shape the city and what happens when budding advocacy groups and local residents start contesting the state-market led megaprojects. This is an attempt to critically assess and further understand this very capacity of the state. This analysis would help in coming out with better strategies to govern the growth of metro rail development in Indian cities in the near future.