- Darshini Mahadevia, Professor and Associate Dean, Arts at the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University
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About the Talk
Random top-down decisions on projects and programmes for cities and a recent shift in focus towards sub-city plans (e.g Town Planning Schemes and Local Area Plans) and specific area development projects (e.g. riverfronts development, central vista, etc.) are subverting urban planning as inherited, professed and practiced by the state entity, reminding us ‘why India cannot plan her cities’. In lived reality, absence of urban planning is keenly experienced in its many facets. Urban planning’s antecedents lie in anti-urban utopia, anti-metropolitanisation and ‘rural idiocy’. Post Second World War, in the larger project of modernization within rationalist framework, urban planning gained centre stage as a comprehensive, rationalist exercise. It emerges as a profession of compromise between the ‘right’ and the ‘left’, as a ‘social democratic’ endeavor in the capitalist countries of Europe and North Americas.
Indian urban planning, as a project of modernization, found its feet post-independence through ‘Master Plans’ (or Development Plans) imbibing both the utopian anti-urban as well ‘comprehensive planning’ philosophies and assuming the larger polity to be social democracy. The goals and objectives set in these plans read as vacuous, representing the dominant ideas of the time. There is not just one ‘Master Plan’ but many plans, prepared with poor quality data. These are not statutory plans but have projects (with large budget allocations) embedded in them. There is a tapestry of actors and projects acting on the city space, with individual projects driving the change. By critically looking at the objectives of plans of different cities over time and making sense out of multiple plans of a city, this presentation asks the question: do we address the urban planning conundrum or is it time to write its obituary?
About the Speaker
Darshini Mahadevia is Professor and is Associate Dean, Arts at the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University. She was formerly at Faculty of Planning, CEPT University, held position of Dean here for a term and had set up Centre for Urban Equity at the CEPT University. Her current interests lie in unpacking the ‘Plans’ of the cities in India, looking at them through the lens of the global agenda and public health in the cities.
Find all the available videos of our previous workshops, here
This is the hundred and forty first in a series of Urban Workshops planned by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). These workshops seek to provoke public discussion on issues relating to the development of the city and try to address all its facets including its administration, culture, economy, society and politics.For further information, please contact: Aprajita Sarcar at firstname.lastname@example.org of CSH, Mukta Naik at email@example.com or Marie-Hélène Zerah at firstname.lastname@example.org