New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial Urbanisation’ in Dhoelera smart city, Gujarat

New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial Urbanisation’ in Dhoelera smart city, Gujarat
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 Add to Calendar 2014-07-22 10:15:00 2014-07-22 13:00:00 Asia/Kolkata New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial Urbanisation’ in Dhoelera smart city, Gujarat CPR-CSH Workshop on New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial Urbanisation’ in Dhoelera smart city, Gujarat  by Ayona Datta, Senior Lecturer, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK.  Date:                Tuesday, 22 July 2014 Time:                3.45 p.m. Venue:             Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021  ____________________________________ Smart cities are now arguably the new urban utopias of the 21st century. Integrating urban and digital planning, smart cities are being marketed across the world as solutions to the challenges of urbanization and sustainable development. In India, in particular, there has been a move towards building 100 new smart cities in the future to spur economic growth and urbanization. Using the case of Dholera, the first Indian smart city, this workshop will examine how global models of smart cities are provincialised in the regional state of Gujarat through local histories, politics and laws. The paper will argue first, that Dholera smart city is part of a longer genealogy of utopian urban planning that emerged as a response to the challenges of development and modernity in post-independent India. Second, that Dholera highlights a shift towards an ‘entrepreneurial urbanization’ in a regional state interested in scaling up a ‘Gujarat model of development’ for emulation at the scale of the nation. Finally, that in Dholera ‘speed’ is a relative term across its scales of manifestation from the global to local, where short ‘bursts of speed’ in conceptualisation and investment is matched by significant ‘bottlenecks’ via local protests. The paper concludes that Dholera’s fault lines are built into its utopian imaginings, which prioritises urbanization as a business model rather than a model of social justice. Ayona Datta is Senior Lecturer in Citizenship and Belonging at the School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK. She has an interdisciplinary background in architecture, environmental design and planning, and her teaching and research spans across sociology, geography, and architecture. Her broader research interests are in the connections between social, political, and material geographies of cities; with specific interests in urban transformations in the globalising South; politics of gender, place, and social agency; translocal geographies; and politics of sustainability. She conducts research on these themes through a range of qualitative methods including interviewing, participant observation, architectural mapping, participant photography, and visual narratives. Ayona is associated with a number of journals and her recent books include ‘Illegal C...
10:15 am to 1:00 pm
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CPR-CSH Workshop on New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial Urbanisation’ in Dhoelera smart city, Gujarat  by Ayona Datta, Senior Lecturer, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK. 

Date:                Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Time:                3.45 p.m.

Venue:             Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 

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Smart cities are now arguably the new urban utopias of the 21st century. Integrating urban and digital planning, smart cities are being marketed across the world as solutions to the challenges of urbanization and sustainable development. In India, in particular, there has been a move towards building 100 new smart cities in the future to spur economic growth and urbanization. Using the case of Dholera, the first Indian smart city, this workshop will examine how global models of smart cities are provincialised in the regional state of Gujarat through local histories, politics and laws. The paper will argue first, that Dholera smart city is part of a longer genealogy of utopian urban planning that emerged as a response to the challenges of development and modernity in post-independent India. Second, that Dholera highlights a shift towards an ‘entrepreneurial urbanization’ in a regional state interested in scaling up a ‘Gujarat model of development’ for emulation at the scale of the nation. Finally, that in Dholera ‘speed’ is a relative term across its scales of manifestation from the global to local, where short ‘bursts of speed’ in conceptualisation and investment is matched by significant ‘bottlenecks’ via local protests. The paper concludes that Dholera’s fault lines are built into its utopian imaginings, which prioritises urbanization as a business model rather than a model of social justice.

Ayona Datta is Senior Lecturer in Citizenship and Belonging at the School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK. She has an interdisciplinary background in architecture, environmental design and planning, and her teaching and research spans across sociology, geography, and architecture. Her broader research interests are in the connections between social, political, and material geographies of cities; with specific interests in urban transformations in the globalising South; politics of gender, place, and social agency; translocal geographies; and politics of sustainability. She conducts research on these themes through a range of qualitative methods including interviewing, participant observation, architectural mapping, participant photography, and visual narratives. Ayona is associated with a number of journals and her recent books include ‘Illegal City: Space, law and gender in a Delhi squatter settlement’ (2012) and ‘Translocal Geographies: Spaces, places, connections’ (2011). She has a PhD in Environmental Design and Planning, from Arizona State University, USA and degrees from University of Cambridge, UK and the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India. She can be reached at a.datta@leeds.ac.uk.

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This is the fifty fourth 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: Jayani Bonnerjee at jayani.bonnerjee@csh-delhi.com, Partha Mukhopadhyay at partha@cprindia.org or Marie-Hélène Zerah at marie-helene.zerah@ird.fr