Masters Thesis 2018-2020


by Valentina Brevi
Faculty: Dr. Ratoola Kundu

Who are the artworkers, what is cultural policy, where do they interact? 

Research on cultural policy is divided in many lines of inquiry and from different theoretical standpoints. Most studies look at the social, economic and urban impact of the arts. This study will focus on the impact of cultural policy on the artworkers in relation to creative cities.

Cultural policy understood as specific policies developed to regulate the promotion, protection and other aspects of cultural expressions, arts and heritage, is a relatively new field that has taken many shapes including a booster for economic depression and an instrument for urban renewal. As a result, impact assessment of cultural policy is mainly focused either on the social impact or the economic impact as we will see later on. This approach disregards the work and the people behind the arts.

Artists are an essential part of societies, just like anyone else. It is important that policy that affects their artistic and cultural production and their livelihoods be studied in relation to them. As any other group, their modes of production and their participation in society has particular characteristics that need to be identified and understood.

To approach the topic it is necessary to establish who are the artworkers, what cultural policies exist at national and local level, and how the cultural policies influence city development processes. 


Faculty: Dr. Himanshu Burte

It is well known that small towns form a crucial part of urbanization of India. However, they are merely seen as the upcoming centers of growth, but are largely ignored in the sense of development of policy frameworks. (Denis & Zérah, 2017) Further, due to prescriptive framework of policy discourses and their detached nature from the unique urban reality specific to each place, often results in ignorance of the social, political and economic conditions of these places. And subsequently failure or success of cases are immediately measured against some set standards of narratives of economic growth or overall changes in the area.

This work, focusing on the current urban areas of Begusarai district, tries to capture the reasons for being of state of affairs in those manners. Rather than being prescriptive or highlighting current issues of the urban, it navigates through its medieval and modern history in attempt to explore probable causes of contemporary situation of urban. Further, attempting to resist any form of comparison from other urban areas in state or anywhere else, which immediately results in comparison based on some random criterions to create hierarchy of place by completely decontextualizing it from its history, I have not made attempts to compare it from any other urban centers in chapters on findings.

Based on arguments of ‘ordinary cities’ put forth by Jennifer Robinson, to view every city as ‘ordinary’ to avoid the dichotomous classification of cities in different categories like rich vs poor, global vs local etc., I have attempted to integrate it with concept of ‘blind fields’ proposed by Henry Lefebvre to unfold those fields of urban of Begusarai district which make it special in its own domain. Special not in sense of some category of measurements, but of stories, which are crucial in shaped its path from feudal to rural and then industrial to urban. It is an attempt to bring forth the story of another small ‘ordinary town’ which co-exists in heart of rural and witnessing some rapid developments since last 2 decades. 2

Before going into further introducing the chapters, and to the work in its entirety, it is crucial to look at some reasons why this place and this kind of study was chosen.



Faculty: Dr. Ratoola Kundu

The development of a country is largely depended on the development of its infrastructure. It’s vital to the growth of various sectors and the overall economy of a country. As the spending in this sector produces a multiplier effect on the overall economic growth of a country. This in turn increases the aggregate demand by improving the living conditions. Kochi which is a tier-2 city in the south India has initiated various development projects such as the Cochin International Airport. This has involved the change in rural or periurban areas into urban setup in many of the nearby areas. Even though with all these boons people are saying about the advantages of an infrastructure development, this dissertation is aimed at studying the various social, economic and environmental implications caused to the neighbouring communities because of this large scale infrastructure development. The study has rigorously and comprehensively looked upon the various aspects of this infrastructure development. This study has included the various contestations happened in choosing the land for this development which was a flood plain of the Periyar river, issues in the various compensation packages given to the rehabilitated people to the various environmental issues such as flooding caused by this infrastructure development. As projected in media, this infrastructure development is not a story with a happy ending but a story full of contestations and struggles that the people of the neighbouring community had to face. The issues like this can only be solved for another infrastructure project like this is by the uprising of the communities in demanding their needs and adequate use of the Panchayati Raj system for the successful grievance redressal of the affected people.

Redevelopment Project of the Crawford Market: Paving a Path for Retail Gentrification

by Simran Pal Kaur
Faculty: Dr. Lalitha Kamath

Markets are as old as cities. Markets do not only reflect history and the various methods of production and distribution, but also a succession of trends in urban and rural centres. The evolution of cities is also based on commerce linking urban and rural economies. Most of the public markets in India, survive in informal economies. They often represent a chaotic environment which occupies streets, pavements or spaces under flyovers and have a competing local business. Since past decade, Mumbai is making an attempt at realizing the value of some of its markets, following which redevelopment of various municipal markets is being carried out. Crawford Market is one such municipal market who’s redevelopment project is going on. The market area includes a variety of native and colonial places that gives the location a distinct urban character. It created most buzz because it is over 150 years old heritage market whose scale of redevelopment plan is huge and will change the insides of the market, entirely. The market building was erected in 1868 by the initiative of Arthur Travers Crawford, the first municipal commissioner of the city of Bombay. This market has expanded overtime beyond its building’s limit and allows confluence of vendors from different regions. The buzz for its redevelopment started from before 2007 and eventually the first phase of redevelopment started from 2014 up to 2018 and its second phase started in 2019. 

In this research study, I examine what this market is in context to its environs, what the redevelopment project is, what changes it is making, what this redevelopment indicates and eventually how the redeveloped market fits into the idea of the future city. I argue that the Crawford Market’s redevelopment is trying to achieve something much bigger- which is to increase the market’s reach and improve the market’s position in perception of the visitors. However, redevelopment is a more serious investment that has begun to cause disruption for tenants occupying the space, sometimes making it impossible for them to conduct their business. With this backdrop, I argue that the redevelopment project of the Crawford Market seems to be paving a path for “retail gentrification” (Gonzalez and Waley 2012) on the lines of a new form of gentrification that Smith (1996) characterized as the “gentrification frontier”, a term that challenges conventional wisdom of gentrification. It reveals gentrification as part of a much larger shift in the political economy and culture of the late twentieth century.

The concept of retail gentrification lists three major facets- Firstly, an ongoing urban restructuring orchestrated by the neoliberal state designed to create a privatized and commodified city centre space. This starts with a process of “disinvestment” before privatizing or commodifying the space. Secondly, the displacement of the some people from their habitual environment. Lastly, the promotion of markets as a consumer experience through provision of a sanitized and commodified environment. The Crawford Market’s redevelopment project is pushing forth similar facets marking a case of ‘retail gentrification’ beginning to take place, though at a slow and delicate pace right now. Marketplaces are dynamic and productive places in our cities and towns and the redevelopment project comes across as an effort to ‘rebrand’ the market through beautification, aesthetic and touristic values. However, creating a romantic image of the marketplace serves as a “catalyst for gentrifying neighbourhoods” and doesn’t work to improve markets in an inclusive way that benefits vulnerable groups in society (Gonsalez and Waley 2013). The redevelopment project locates itself within the idea of Mumbai as a future city where new designs compete global aesthetics and standards that appeal to the future. 

After this short overview of the research study, I will briefly explain the order of the rest of the sections.

Naka Diaries; An observational study of a public space at Chembur Naka, Mumbai.

by Prema Swarupa Saripaka
Faculty: Dr. Himanshu Burte

This study is primarily an attempt to understand the relationship between a public space such as the Chembur Naka and the informal labour there. This a qualitative study wherein the data has been collected using tools such as semi-structured interviews, photography, focus group discussions etc. The researcher has made an attempt to get an insight into the stories of the people at the Naka who work in the informal, unorganized sector and has tried to link that to broader concepts and theories such as precariousness of employment, social space etc. The findings from the data collection suggested that the naka workers were bring alienated politically, economically and socially. There is unequal access to the public spaces and the Naka is a hub for different kinds of political tussles. 


Faculty: Dr Lalitha Kamath

Indore City remains the cleanliest city in India for three consequent years. It became a great centre of attraction for general public and for other cities of India as well as internationally. So it is of great interest to study and do research how the huge quantity of waste of various kinds is managed to make it so clean and converted for use, reused , recycled and compost and energy and CNG are produced. 

This research study is an attempt to understand waste management in Indore city. It highlights rise of Indore to rank 1 in 2017, from a low rank of 149 in 2015 in a short period of 18 months. It started with accepting the challenge and deciding plan, implementing it step by step with great determination to make Indore the cleanest city in India. The first step was to involve people personally at various levels, so intense campaign for making people aware for cleanliness was done. Door-to-door waste collection was initiated and successfully employed with persuasion and dedication. Technology for disposal and processing was adopted efficiently. Monitoring and control through GPS and software was very effective. Through sorting out and segregation at sources, sorting out of various types of waste done in automatic /semi automatic plants at the trenching ground , some waste like plastic and paper and card boards are reused , plastics are used in road construction, compost forming plants employed on large scale and at individual houses and colonies and gardens, CNG and methane gas is generated to run buses and energy is generated from waste. This added value to waste and saved the environment. The city was made totally free of big dustbins. Littering stopped at all places, road, shops, and commercial complexes. 

Role of authorities and perception of different stakeholders and team work brought desired changes on ground level. The changes brought in Indore set a fine example of how with the little efforts of different stakeholders like citizens, sweepers, shopkeepers and authorities can bring about great change even in an age old system. The campaign to change the city, involvement of citizens and the NGOs was analyzed. 

In Introduction given in Chapter 1, a brief account of about Indore city was first described. Then research methodology for the present work was discussed. Qualitative research survey was carried out to know various stakeholders and their interviews were conducted orally and through questionnaire prepared. 

In Chapter 2 of literature review, concepts of waste and types of solid waste are first described. Attention is focused in present research work on Solid Waste Management. How the policies of waste in India started taking the shape with new acts and laws that are also brought out in this chapter. Also the various technological advancements in the waste management, the new partnership in form of NGOs and the public private partnership and acts and rules for waste disposal and management passed by government are described. 

Third chapter elaborates on the initiatives taken by Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) to get good score in the ranking in the Swachh Survekshan. It mentions different phases of addressing the challenges of Indore waste management and the efforts taken by them. Also Swatch Bharat ranking system and how points are allocated for different criteria for evaluation are presented. Political supports came to forefront after launch of Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan a competition among various cities to become the cleanliest city in India motivated persons and officials and elected representative like Mayor and Commissioner and their team. 

Fourth chapter presents Analysis carried out systematically through graphs and charts from the data collected from the field visits with the questionnaire to know about perception of the citizens, shopkeepers and vendors at the vegetable market. It evaluates how they feel about the changes during first few months. The broad framework of the model is critically analyzed, what is being followed in Indore like gaps in assessment of ranking system, model of waste management, organizational structure between workers and higher-level authority. Various information were collected from NGOs, IMC, newspapers and interviews. Thus, the success of Indore waste management was understood and brought out. 

In Chapter five is presented discussion about the observations recorded, data obtained and what analysis reveals. Key findings and salient points are mentioned and recommendations made. 

Conclusions drawn and recommendations made from this work are presented in Chapter 6.The model and the ways and methodology followed in Indore Solid Waste Management are the best example for others to adopt and use for achieving cleanliness in their cities. Motivation and persuasion and coordination from the top to the lowest level are key factors to achieve target. 

Urban Commons: An Inquiry Into Informal Settlements

by Shubham Kothari
Faculty: Dr. Amita Bhide

For the first time in the modern history of the global south, urban has become a phenomenon which is as significant as its counter rural. Ranging from investments to being engines of economic growth, cities have taken the centre stage and with this a new urban culture now unfolds. This new culture is marked by aggressive laws of private property and privatisation oriented to the development of formal markets and investments. Yet, the urban in global south is characterised by large scale informality and unorganised sector. This informality, generated in response to the inability of structures of economy, land market, legal right and institutional structures to accommodate several groups of people forces us to rethink and reimagine the idea and nature of urban and urbanisation.

Urban life in India is undergoing a constant transformation moving towards complete commodification of resources such as land and housing. The commodification of land has direct consequences on the process of urban development. It shifts the value of land from use value to exchange value, creating an unaffordable property market excluding the poor and working class of the city from its use. While the poor cannot afford land in the city, the state and market has also failed to provide them with sufficient housing options. Therefore, the poor working class population are forced to occupy spaces called informal settlements which are predominated by the use value of land in the form of creation of housing. Consequently, informal settlements in India hosts 10 to 60 percent of the urban population in different cities along with a large informal economy. The relationship of informal settlements with the state governed on the tenet of private property is characterised by illegality and criminalisation of settlers and the process of settlement. Informal settlements are termed as ‘encroachments’, ‘illegal’, ‘burden on the city’ and its settlers often treated as secondary citizens of the city. This secondary citizenship leads to insecure housing rights, constant threat of demolition and eviction and poor access to basic amenities often on humanitarian grounds. The urban poor residing in these informal settlements find themselves excluded and in confrontation with the state creating a constant sense of vulnerability and marginalisation. This vulnerability is further intensified and transformed into precariousness by the escalated burdens of living in a city. Many of the settlers exhibit strength, strategy, endurance and patience to negotiate and confront the state in order to create a world for themselves rather than being a victim to such harsh and hostile urban environment. Informal settlements, therefore are not sites of victimisation at the mercy of state and market but are sites of self-creation, resistance, consolidation and expression of agency of the poor working class to lay claim to the city. This method of creating informal settlements and in turn creating city and becoming citizens has been documented and called peripheral urbanisation. Caldeira (2017) notes, while the settlers have plans and prepare carefully each step, their actions typically escape the framing of official planning. They operate inside capitalist markets of land, credit, and consumption, but usually in special niches bypassed by the dominant logics of formal real estate, finance, and commodity circulation.

The process of creation of formal housing or housing society in urban centres is largely a one time process. The house or housing society created is a complete creation, equipped with supply of all basic amenities and does not require further construction. Once the house is created, sold and resided in, maintenance and upgradation of technology dominates the housing development processes. The same cannot be said for the process of creation of informal settlements which rather than being a one time creation is an incremental process of creation and development. Access to basic amenities like the house are to be contested, negotiated and even fought for over years. Therefore, life in an informal settlement is one of creation, resistance, endurance, patience and consolidation as well as transversailty, opaqueness and incrementality. These processes are very important as they govern the constantly changing built and lived environment of an informal settlement. Study of these processes offers meaningful insights to understand the agency of poor working class people negotiating and creating spaces for themselves in the city. Such processes are important to understand urbanisation in India and the global south where formal and informal urbanisation coexist.

Informal settlements are thus sites of creation, and often sites of collective creation. In order to defy use of land on the basis of private or individual ownership, collective claims are made to land and its use for housing. These collective claims, often assisted by local politicians are an act of cocreation of a place to live in. Urban researchers have called this process of co-creation an important characteristic of urban commons. Stavros (2015), defines common spaces in urban as: common spaces are spaces produced by people in their effort to establish a common world that houses, supports and expresses the community they participate in. Urban commons, attract many researchers, like myself, as an important phenomenon to study alternate forms of claiming urban spaces. Therefore, this research attempts to study informal settlements in Mumbai with the frameworks of urban commons in order to understand the alternate urban lifestyle.

The history of urban development of Mumbai is a story of transformation of land market from feudal ownership of land to capitalist private property market. This transformation is marked with the process of ‘accumulation by dispossession’, accumulation of land by Gujarati and Parsi entrepreneurs and dispossession of the Kolis and native tribes. This process was achieved through colonial laws of land titling which disproportionately favoured the literate Gujarati and Parsi community above the illiterate tillers and users of land, the Kolis and native tribes. There are some continuities between this process of colonial dispossession and the contemporary processes as informal settlements occupying central pieces of land and housing the working class population of the city, are demolished and transferred to the peripheries of the city. M(E) Ward is one such peripheral ward of the city, which has experienced large scale influx of poor migrant population either by processes of settling to create new informal settlements or rehabilitated under different rehabilitation and resettlement schemes of the government. Mandala is one such settlement that was established by poor migrant workers during 1980s, converting a marshy mangrove patch of land into habitable space. Therefore, a transformation of value took place, the land now had use value for housing which was informally settled by a local bhai cum politician. 1 An informal market was created from the use value of land for housing. This informal market was governed by local bhais and politicians. Since then, the space has experienced episodes of extreme violence in confrontation with the state and parallel processes of negotiation, consolidation and development to claim the space in the city. Mandala itself consists of five smaller settlement pockets with different trajectories of development. Amongst these five pockets, Shivneri, my research site has been developed by the support of Shivsena and has a distinctive built and lived environment.

When I first visited Shivneri, I was amazed to see the organised lanes, concrete housing and beautified main street. It did not look like an informal settlement in confrontation with the state. The commonly used terminology of slum would be a burden for many of the residents now. Instead, it resembled a formal housing society with visible history of incremental development. Shivneri was established with the help of two Shivsainiks in 1980, to develop it as a space for creation of informal housing for Marathi migrants. The land was parceled and distributed by Shivneri Welfare Society (SWS), formed by the two Shivsainiks along with initial settlers. This process of parceling of land and distribution was not a process devoid of payment, even if it bypassed the legal route for exchange of land. Instead, settlers made payments to SWS in return of security and a Marathi neighbourhood. The settlers have collectively upgraded and incrementally developed the space, confronted and negotiated with the state and market and transformed a marshy mangrove land into a space of housing to a vibrant rental housing market. In this entire process of transformation and development, commons and commoning practices played a crucial role. These practices of commoning and spaces produced by these practices have undergone significant changes in it’s interaction with the state and market. This research traces the trajectories of changes in property market and their effect on Shivneri,


Analysis of Water Accessibility and Availability in Kumaon: Case Study of Champawat Town, Uttarakhand, India

by Nishant Kharkwal
Faculty: Dr. Kamal Kumar Murari

Even though abundant in natural water resources, water scarcity is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon in the Himalayan towns and cities due to unplanned urbanization, climate change, and deforestation. The bias in the studies towards the big cities and urban areas have led to a neglect of small towns not only in case of policy formulation but also in understanding the problems of these areas. In this regard, the study is an attempt to understand how the situation of water accessibility and availability is different in the small Himalayan towns like Champawat. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative analysis, the study illustrates the situation of accessibility and availability of water in the town and how the system fails to provide adequate water equitably to all. The present water supply system is not able to meet the existing water demand. The old pipelines, their lack of maintenance and unwritten arrangements between the operators and water tanker providers diverts water flows, thus, further affecting water accessibility and availability. The ignorance of traditional water systems, lack of water harvesting schemes, resource rejuvenation schemes and delay in implementation of new water pumping scheme has aided to the present situation.


by Shweta Subhalaxmi
Faculty: Prof. Amita Bhide

This work is focused around a current issue of displacement concerning the basti studied. Finding out the forms of participation in informal settlements was the key concern but then the understanding the vagueness (what, who, how) in which participation is studied, understood, perceived and applied varied so much that the method of research has been skewed in a certain way. The work brings out the context and situation of the slums in Bhubaneswar and then brings out the issue of eviction i.e., currently of significance due to the ongoing dynamics of displacement going on in the settlement of salia sahi and the roles of various organizations and actors struggling through the process. The outcome of the work is to bring out the existing situation and think of the issues from micro to macro level. I am doubtful about how far I could have explained and put forth all the factors with clarity but it is sincere effort to address the problem and think towards probable solutions taking into account the minute fabrics that might have the possibility to change the situations.


by Sana Asif Ahmad
Faculty: Prof. Nandini Manjrekar

A qualitative research and analysis on the rationale and impact of the participatory governance model has been performed in this study of “Participatory Governance in Delhi Government Schools”. The chosen arena for this study was the Delhi Government school system. The relationship between the School Management Committees, elected public representatives, parents and teachers have been closely studied and evaluated under the lens of participation. This thesis studies the literature revolving around participatory governance, community participation and its impact on individuals and the society. In particular, it attempts to examine the efforts of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at participation in relation to the government-facilitated reforms in the education system in the state of Delhi. The rationale of the study is based on the need for understanding the forms and processes underlying participation as experienced by each of the actors involved in the process of education-centric governance. The idea was to document the decentralisation undertaken in the implementation of the participatory governance model adopted by AAP in the education sector, which has otherwise been a closed model. The study also took a closer look at the dynamics engaged in sharing of resources, responsibilities and the benefits that accrue from this model. It was analysed how the members of a community who are affected by a social/public programme generate not just data but also place demands, offer suggestions and critiques. Participatory observation, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews formed the research methods underlying data collection for this study. The objective was to understand the nature of experiences of the various social actors involved in the participation. The level of decentralisation undertaken by the government and the impact of various factors like technology, the role of the implementing NGO partner Saajha and that of the SMC sabhas in sustaining the participatory set-up were also studied. The findings of this study reveal the impact of the participatory set-up on not just the beneficiaries but also on the political image of the party running the government. The implementation and use of technology to improve and empower participation has also been observed. The challenges faced by the participants in this entire process including but not limited to the SMC members, school officials, teachers and parents have been highlighted. The roles played by the actors at every stage, namely, MLAs, teachers, social workers etc. have been studied closely and described in detail. The power dynamics that come into play at every level of the hierarchy are also quite apparent. The one to one interviews and the group interaction with the stakeholders have been quite insightful in bringing this out. The overall observation from this study has been that the participatory model set up by AAP is riddled with contradictions and challenges but is on its way to further reform. The success of the AAP in the elections held in February 2020 can be attributed to the improved state of the public education system along with reforms in various other sectors such as health and public utilities. With the right guidance and continued support from the government this model has proved to be successful by showing some significant improvements in the quality of infrastructure and education provided by the government schools.

Assessment of Intermediate Public Transport (IPT) System in A Neighbourhood- A Case of Bhopal City

by Madhavi Nikose
Faculty: Dr.Ratoola Kundu

India is experiencing an era of rapid urbanisation and motorisation. While the urban population is growing at the rate of 3.16 % per year, motor vehicles are growing at a rate of 9%. Today, buses are a part of only 1% of the total registered vehicles in cities. In fact, very few Indian cities have the transport system which is regularised and formalised. In the absence of an organised city bus service, there is a loophole that exist which is being filled by intermediate public transport (IPT) modes like 3-wheelers auto-rickshaws, Tempos and Tata magic, etc. which provide public transport services. (Kanika K, Anindita G, Namit K, 2014). IPT includes the services which provide the last mile connectivity to the users to various parts of the areas. These comprises of informal modes such as auto rickshaws, mini buses, Tata magic, ferries etc. IPT plays an important role in helping people commuting towards their destination also it complements the existing public transport system present in the city. (Deepthi S.P Ken G, Geethika S.J , 2018) It acts as a connecting bridge between the commuters and their desired destination. The connectivity and flexibility is such that they provide door to door services where the heavy buses are restricted to serve due to insufficient infrastructure like narrow roads or desire lines. (Madhu, 2015) IPT plays the significant role of covering the gaps in the public transport system of a city and making up for its failings and shortcomings. ( Deepthi S.P Ken G, Geethika S.J , 2018) It caters to the excess demand for transportation services in areas as and when required, helps in meeting daily commuting needs of the people and takes part in the role of the sole saviour in areas where public transport is not present. ( Deepthi S.P Ken G, Geethika S.J , 2018).


Faculty: Dr. Lalitha Kamath

This research looks at the recent surge in designation of taluka headquarters as Nagar Panchayats by the Maharashtra government, and looks at rural to urban transition as a continuous process, with ground level inquiry of the Koregaon Nagar Panchayat in Satara district. It looks at rural to urban transition in the government body as a process, recognizing that the newly formed statutory towns need to build their capacities and infrastructure and examines the antecedents to status change and the town’s fit with the Nagar Panchayat criteria, transition in the body, i.e. how the Nagar Panchayat was set up, the immediate tasks that a newly formed Nagar Panchayat requires to take up, and looks at its current functioning to gauge priority areas and identify issues in the transition process to inform the state’s policy on Nagar Panchayats. The research also assesses the capacities the state government has created for Nagar Panchayats all over the state and its idea of how Nagar Panchayats should be governed. With narratives and suggestions from Nagar Panchayat officials, local actors and state government officials and politicians, the research ponders over few aspects that the state can consider in improving Nagar Panchayats governance, such as reconciling urban, rural and taluka place needs, addressing the issues that arose, prioritizing works and allocating funds to places in accordance and also questions what is required for larger changes to take place in the town as a result of status change, so that the usual issues that small towns face may be avoided at this tier of governance. 

Scarcity, Crisis and Constructs A Case of Water Provisioning in Shimla

by Aanandita Sikka
Faculty: Dr. Pranjal Dixit

The dissertation titled ‘Scarcity, Crisis and Constructs: A Case of Shimla water provisioning’ traces the development of water supply in Shimla and explores the specific issues of water supply system in hilly towns. It concentrates on the two recent episodes of water crises in Shimla. The thesis attempts to fill a gap in the literature by inquiring the processes of emergence of a water crisis. This work establishes that water crises are amalgamation of several factors accumulated over a period of time, and are not necessarily borne out of scarcity of water as a resource. The thesis also discusses the naturalisation of scarcity; this construction is validated and accepted socially due to people’s experiences with shortage of piped water supply. This naturalisation, dependent on obscured reality serves to further the argument for augmentation and essentializes the need of a ‘perennial’ source-Sutlej. In then end, this dissertation attempts to analyse the reforms consequent to the loan from World Bank. It discusses neo-liberal reform of corporatisation arguing it be a process of recentralisation and de-politicisation, characterising them as insulating reforms. It further discusses the relationships of pro-poor rhetoric, cost recovery and accountability to these insulating reforms.

Understanding the Working of Unauthorised Construction Regime

by Nehal Thorawade
Faculty: Prof. Amita Bhide

In previous decades we have experienced a significant growing trend in urban population. According to the world bank, in the current scenario, 50% of people live in urban areas and this number will increase by 1.5 times in future, it means in 2045 6 billion people will reside in urban areas To achieve the demand for housing of these increased numbers of populations, every year new buildings need to be constructed. For constructing a new building requires the municipality’s permission. However, unfortunately, some of the builders/ developers erect buildings without permission of the municipality which ends in unauthorised constructions.

Unauthorised constructions have created havoc in the major cities of developing and poor countries all over the globe. According to a report by (Nations, 2007), estimated that about 90% of unauthorised constructions in the globe are found in cities of developing and poor countries. In the Philippines cities, 57% of new construction is unauthorised in nature and in Egypt, the number may touch 90% (World Bank, 2006). In spite of many attempts at a various level, the number of unauthorised construction is still rising day by day in the overall world. In developing countries, the issue of unauthorised construction only gets worse due to unplanned burden on a municipal corporation for providing water, electricity, garbage removal etc.

Cities are the engine for the economic growth of a country and humans work as fuel to keep it moving. In the case of India, Big Metropolitan city like Mumbai gives a boost to the economy. The labour who keep the economy moving seeks affordable housing in a big city like Mumbai and end up living in unauthorised construction due to cheap housing. Unauthorised constructions are flourishing on the periphery of Mumbai city that is known as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Housing in the Mumbai city is extravagant that the middle-class can’t afford it. MMR has appeared as a location for affordable housing, so looking at the demand of affordable housing builder/developers construct an unauthorised building to make a profit out of it. Several cities like Vasai, Virar, Mumbra, Diva, Ulhasnagar, Dombivli and Kalyan are known as the hub of unauthorised construction in the MMR region.

Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation has faced rampant increased in unauthorised construction in the last few decades. According to Aguire Committee report on unauthorised construction in KDMC in 2007, the number of unauthorised construction properties was around 67 thousand. In 2018 KDMC published a ward wise list of unauthorised constructions that took place from 2010 to 2018, the total number they showed was 3704, but RTI activist and petitioner Kaustubh Gokhale believes there were about one lakh unauthorised constructions in the last 14 years took place in KDMC (MyMahanagar, 2018)The number of unauthorised constructions in the overall KDMC region is still going up because there are very fewer efforts taken by the KDMC official to curb the problem.

“Matter Out of place?” Dharavi’s Story of Plastic Waste Processing

by Kanu Priya
Faculty: Dr. Pratibha Ganesan

Plastic has become a cause of concern for all the countries across the globe. All the countries are trying to find the right way to deal with this ubiquitous commodity. With the increased investments in plastic production by the petrochemical industries and growing rate of urbanization, the amount of plastic waste generated is increasing manifold. Technical and financial constraints limit the effectiveness of formal waste management system. Recycling in informal sector plays a pivotal part in waste management. These industries have a significant economic and environmental impact. However, its role is seldom recognised and the processes less understood. Dharavi, is one of the waste recycling hubs in India but the processes of its waste recycling is yet to be understood from a social, economic and technical point of view. There is a need to dig deep into the different aspects of these industries and link them to the formal waste management system. This paper devotes special attention to process of plastic waste recycling at Dharavi. The best possible way for formal informal sector linkage is to formally recognise and connect waste collectors to informal recycling units, under the blanket of formal waste management. These waste collectors should be formally employed by ULBs to divert collected waste to informal recycling units. This can be very first step towards integrating formal and informal waste management systems. This will make the recycling chain traceable. Informal recycling industries an important consideration when it comes to identifying alternative waste management techniques. It is imperative that Indian government intervenes here and remodels it as a way forward to sustainable environment practices. Also, any set of regulations that involve integrating them should also include an aim to better off their lifestyle, and earnings giving them proper social security benefits.

From Denial To Negligence: Contours Of Governing Industrial Water Supply (A Case Study of Ankleshwar Industrial Estate, Gujarat)

by Isha Fuletra
Faculty: Dr Pranjal Deekshit

Informal systems have been known to play a crucial role in our cities, especially in the context providing water supply services to the poor, unauthorized colonies and peri-urban areas. Where ever the piped network supply has fallen short, the informal providers of water have been known to step in to cover the gaps through carts, tankers, kiosks, packaged bottles and so on. Based on the case study of such an informal water market catering to a much formalised and recognised category of water users- the small and medium scale enterprises in Ankleshwar Industrial Estate (Gujarat) -the current thesis questions the spatial and class dimensions associated with the informal water provisioning. 

By drawing upon the everyday practices of the industrial users, informal water tanker suppliers and the formal water utility, the study finds a prolonged dependency of industrial units on the informal water tanker suppliers owing to shortcomings of the piped water supply. However, the sustenance of this informal water market for about 30 to 40 years, despite all the precarity and illegalities involved, should not only be seen as a product of simple supply and demand factors, but also as a part and parcel of a highly convoluted governance ecosystem. 

However, as the thesis argues, ‘governance’ in the context of the ‘informal’ practices of the ‘formal’ and ‘powerful’ actors, like the industries, should be interpreted as institutional behaviour steered by formal structures or the lack of it, as well as several informal factors. As evidence to this, the current study presents how identities of suppliers and consumers, their relations with the state, and obscurities in the overall policy climate act as underpinnings to the decisions and practices of state-related actors and institutions, which in turn are responsible for providing legitimacy to an otherwise ‘illegal’ practice. 


The transformation of Gajwel area – Factors, process and consequences: With a focus on the Gajwel town and the adopted villages of the Chief Minister

by Gampa Sai Datta
Faculty: Lalitha Kamath

After the formation of Telangana state, the ruling regime in the state has started projecting Gajwel as a model constituency. This research aims to study the factors and the process behind the emergence of Gajwel. The research objectives also include studying the consequences of this process and the attributes of the development model. The findings show that numerous infrastructure projects were executed in the area changing both the physical landscape of the area and the socio-economic conditions of the people. This is starkly observed in the adopted villages of the Chief Minister namely Erravelli and Narsannapet where almost the whole village was rebuilt under the close monitoring of the Chief Minister as part of the 2BHK scheme. The main factors for this quick transformation of Gajwel area are proactive role by CM KCR, an active official machinery, timely payments by the government to the contractors who have executed the development projects, cooperation from the public, a sense of competition within the ruling family. With an underlying utilitarian principle, the Gajwel development model is highly centralized with emphasis on scale and aesthetics, it created islands of excellence that are promised to be replicated and also it has become a symbol for the legacy of its leader KCR. 


DECENTRALISATION: A FICTION OR A REALITY? (A Case Study of Municipal Water Supply Service in Manmad, Maharashtra)

by Pranjal Kothawade
Faculty: Dr. Pranjal Deekshit

Decentralisation process is viewed as a means to strengthen democracy, increase the participation of citizens in decision-making, and, develop the public services at the local level. In India, the 73rd and 74th CAA viewed the local institutions as the “vehicles” to bring transformation at the community level. This dissertation examines the issues of urban local governments and the status of devolution of functions at the level of small and medium towns through the prism of municipal water supply service.  By comprehensively exploring the practice of water supply provision, the study has found out the involvement of multiple agencies at the local level, who bypass the local governments from the process of decision-making. The structure seems centralised with the ULBs just acting as a service provider under the instructions of the other institutions. The process creates institutional confusion due to the unclear delineation of roles between the State Government, parastatals and the local government. The complex structure of governance, the lack of capacities, and lack of autonomy in financial and administrative decision-making causes the local institution to completely depend on the State.  One of the premises on which the 74th CAA was advocated was “the inadequate devolution of powers and functions” and even after more than twenty five years of its passing, the same argument remains true. Decentralisation attempts in India have failed their objectives and the devolution of functions seems notional than real. The study argues that the administrative decentralisation in India can be referred to as the delegation of functions and not devolution of functions. The thesis queries whether the decentralisation in Maharashtra is real or is just a myth with no actual change in the functioning and governance of the local institutions. 

Waste Management after 2018 floods : A case study of Aluva Municipality, Kerala

by Digith Mathew
Faculty: Dr. Prathibha Ganesan

Disasters such as floods, earthquake, and hurricanes (cyclones) can produce large quantities of solid waste compared to the waste generated in the normal scenario (WHO). Post flood wastes has high chance of being contaminated with hazardous materials, sewage, carcasses and medical waste which makes its handling very dangerous. The safe disposal of these waste is critical for public health. As people return to their houses/establishments after water subsides, they have to clean their houses/establishments which will result in their exposure to contaminants leading to many diseases. The waste which are cleaned out of the houses/establishments should be treated properly which comes under the responsibility of the local government body. In countries like India where even the existing management systems are poor disruptions due to the disasters like flood can be challenging. 

Kerala has a trajectory of waste management crisis and innovations. In the beginning of this century most of the landfill sites in Kerala were under fire with social movements against poor waste management and centralized composting facilities. This has led the government initiate the decentralized solid waste management. However, in none of these debates a scenario of flood waste management was major concern for a Keralite. This changed when a devastating flood strike Kerala on 16th August 2018. Over 483 people lost their lives and one sixth of the total population was affected due to loss of property. The government considered it as a ‘calamity of a severe nature’. (Indian Express, 2018) and existing waste management system was completely disrupted during the flood. 

When the flood water receded, people started moving in and cleaning their households and establishments resulting in heaps of stingy and dirty waste piling on the streets (Jacob, 2018). The wastes included silt covered television sets, furniture, utensils etc. E-wastes like television sets, mobile phones, laptops, computers, and refrigerators which contain harmful materials lay bare in the streets. Efficient treatment of each of these types of wastes became the responsibility of the urban local governments. However, in a state where the waste management in normal scenario was problematic due to the lack of enough landfill sites, lack of awareness of the new decentralized waste management and ineffective local government interventions, effective post flood waste management was a distant reality. Rat fever became a common phenomenon. Aluva was one of the towns which was affected by the piled up garbage and rat fever. This research intends to examine the post flood waste management strategies in Aluva Municipality of Kerala.

The thesis is divided into five chapters. The introduction is followed by literature review. Chapter three discusses the methodology of the research. Chapter four details out the findings and observations from the field and chapter five discusses and concludes the study. 

Spatial Justice And Slum Resettlement In Mumbai

by Aishwarya Dixit
Faculty: Dr. Himanshu Burte

Spatial Justice is a concept popularized by the a renowned geographer and urbanist Ed Soja in his book “Seeking Spatial Justice”. Ed Soja states that spatial justice “seeks to promote more progressive and participatory forms of democratic politics and social activism, and to provide new ideas about how to mobilize and maintain cohesive collations and regional confederations of grassroots social activist.”(Soja, 2010) The spatial disposition of social interactions and the inequalities which are produced and reproduced through spatial relationships in an urban space lie at the focal point of Spatial Justice. In a sense, Spatial Justice concerns with people’s control over the way in which urban space is imagined, planned/designed and experienced. It can be perceived as both a goal and a tool to be used in the process of design. The subject of spatial justice has secured importance in recent years as the importance of space itself, and the built environment requiring it is increasing, in the global economy, for reasons that David Harvey has analyzed in detail. They have to do with spatially dependent loci for capital investment: ever-increasing profits demand a target for investment, and that target is increasingly the built environment, spatially dependent (Marcuse, 2009).

Two common expressions of spatial injustice can be expressed as the following-(Marcuse,2009):

  1. The unfreedom argument; manifested in form of involuntary confinement of any group to limited space – segregation, ghettoization
  2. The allocation of resources unequally over space –the unfair resources argument. For example, facilities or services that are needed for the health and well-being of a community are not adequately available in an area with need, as compared with their availability in other locations. Allocation of resources, e.g. budgets, political power, etc. are unfairly distributed such that on a per-capita or other basis, some areas are disadvantaged compared to others. Facilities or activities that cause harm to communities are unevenly distributed such that some communities suffer the effects to a significant extent.”

ROAD TO RESILIENCE: Examining Urban Resilience in the case of Flooding in Mumbai

by Aadya Saxena
Faculty: Dr. Janki Andharia

The goal of Urban Resilience is increasingly being sought to achieve by planners and disaster managers. However, in the context of contemporary urban realities which have created stark differences in contiguous landscapes, this goal is a greater challenge. Disasters like flooding in cities, can cause great financial loss by damaging public and private property as well as critical infrastructure. This study examines resilience building in the context of periodic flooding in Mumbai. Policy narratives along with people’s narratives in the common yet differentiated experience of urban flooding are used to examine and revisit the notion of urban resilience. Historicity of flooding risk affects people in the current scenario differently, as they cope with the resources they can command and demonstrate differential adaptive capacities. A mixed methods approach is used in this research and resilience is operationalised as adaptive capacities of people and availability/functionality of Stormwater drainage in the area. It is seen that urban resilience is an elusive goal due to systemic vulnerabilities created as a result of inequalities in type of housing settlements and unique challenges in implementation of infrastructure proposals due to preexisting informalities and administrative jurisdictions in cities, need to be traversed. Therefore, this study finds that the road to achieve urban resilience is not linear or free of obstacles such as unplanned developments. Additionally, the idea of resilience in itself tends to maintain status quo and may hide experiences of displacement, scarcity or failure of state to reduce vulnerabilities of people to disaster risks. The study interrogates the idea of resilience in the process of exploring whether resilience to flooding can be attained at a collective city scale when historical vulnerabilities and inequalities of households vary greatly and remain differentiated.