City-building has been an enduring idiom of politics in India. Iconic capital cities such as Jaipur, Kolkata and Chandigarh, among others, have their origins in state initiatives, from precolonial times to the present.
In contemporary India, the impetus behind new cities has been reworked by the prominence of private real estate actors. One compelling and emblematic image of millennial urban transformation is the high-rise gated community. Promising high-quality infrastructure and ‘amenities’, aspirational lifestyles and sanitised vistas of work and leisure, these housing developments signal a decisive break from older ways of living in the Indian city. This discontinuity is also apparent in the geographic location of these enclaves, which are largely a feature of the peri-urban and ‘greenfield’ frontier areas—the Gurgaons and Greater Noidas, Navi Mumbais, Rajarhats, Whitefields and Cyberabads, Lavasas and Sri Citys.
Shaped by real-estate dynamics and policy-promoted growth agendas, especially around high-end services sector, greenfield urban development has brought with it economic and structural change. India’s Greenfield Urban Future explores this ‘urban frontier’ and the constellations of public–private interests underpinning it through ten essays by urban scholars who have remained deeply implicated in their respective field sites while engaging in debates within global urban studies. The themes are wide-ranging and varied: from struggles over land acquisition and real-estate dynamics to emerging forms of governance and place-making in these sites of township development.
Spanning diverse geographies across the country, from metropolitan hubs to industrial corridors, this collection offers a multifaceted understanding of greenfield urban development in India.
Ashima Sood is Associate Professor and Co-Director, Centre for Urbanism and Cultural Economics at Anant National University, Ahmedabad.
Loraine Kennedy is CNRS Research Director at the South Asian Studies Centre, EHESS, Paris, and Trustee of the Glasgow-based Urban Studies Foundation.
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. Rescaling, Speculation and Governance on India’s Urban Frontier: Greenfield Development as Tabula Rasa
Loraine Kennedy and Ashima Sood
PART I: IMPERATIVES: CORRIDORS AND INFRASTRUCTURES
2. Highway Urbanisation and Land Conflicts: The Challenges to Decentralisation in India
3. Scaling Up, Scaling Down: State Rescaling along the Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor
Shriya Anand and Neha Sami
4. Roads to New Urban Futures: Flexible Territorialisation in Peri-urban Kolkata and Hyderabad
PART II: DYNAMICS: LAND AND REAL ESTATE
5. Dholera: The Emperor’s New City
6. Industrial Zone to New Skycity: The (Un)Making of India’s First Aerotropolis
Gopa Samanta and Akash Banerjee
PART III: AFTERMATHS: POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
7. New Town Building in the Postcolonial Era
8. The Rise of Private Governance in Bengaluru’s Electronics City
9. The Politics of Urban Megaprojects in India: Income and Employment Linkages in Chennai’s IT Corridor
M. Vijayabaskar and M. Suresh Babu
10. Making Sense of Place in Rajarhat New Town: The Village in the Urban and the Urban in the Village
Notes on the Contributors