Subaltern Urbanisation in India (SUBURBIN)

Subaltern urbanisation refers to the growth of settlement agglomerations, that are independent of the metropolis and autonomous in their interactions with other settlements. The SUBURBIN project, headed by the French Institute of Pondicherry (IPF) and Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), aims to offer alternative perspectives on “urban transition” from different disciplines.

The quick transformation of economies raises several important questions: Where do we draw the line between rural and urban, between administrative status and functional reality? How and for what purpose would a rural area become an urban area? What is the relation between the proliferation of small towns and economic processes?

The research rests on a double approach: on one hand, economic and social indicators provided by large existing statistic databases will fuel Indiapolis in order to develop a precise and comparative analysis of towns with less than 50,000 inhabitants; on the other hand, field monographs will allow for a qualitative analysis of the observed dynamics. The project will analyse conventional and new data sources “against the grain”, to study subaltern urban areas, their demographic nature, their interaction with cities and the economy at large, their degree of administrative recognition, ways of classifying them, and potential factors for their transformation.

SUBURBIN is a joint project of IFP and CSH. CPR along with other institutions like Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, the Institut Français de Pondicherry, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, University of Burdwan are involved in this work.