This paper traces the development of Bombay Hotel, a commercial informal subdivision and Muslim locality on the southern periphery of Ahmedabad, and examines the role of urban planning in producing everyday conflict and violence in the locality. The paper first links the emergence of Bombay Hotel and other informal subdivisions on Ahmedabad’s southern periphery to the state’s failure to provide affordable land and housing in the city, coupled with the marginalization of Muslims in urban space due to recurring episodes of communal violence and increasing spatio-religious polarisation. It then traces the role of the state and non-state actors in the rapid growth and development of Bombay Hotel since the early 2000s, and the evolving dynamics of conflict and violence, especially around land, infrastructure and basic services.
In this context, the paper elaborates on the processes related to the Town Planning (TP) Schemes in the area. TP Schemes, which are prepared under the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act of 1976, are a well-regarded planning mechanism for urbanizing agricultural lands on the peripheries of cities. However, the Bombay Hotel case provokes critical questions about the inclusivity of TP Schemes as they are currently prepared and implemented. Finally, the paper examines how local mobilization and political patronage has mediated the conflicts created by the TP Schemes, and also raises questions about the short-term and long-term implications of such mediation for making urban planning more inclusive. This research is part of a three-year project at the Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, funded by IDRC and DFID under their global programme “Safe and Inclusive Cities.”
Renu Desai is an urban researcher and Coordinator at the Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, Ahmedabad since April 2013. Her research focuses on processes of urban informality and urban transformation in Indian cities. She has a PhD in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Her doctoral research examined the ways in which urban space was being reshaped in Ahmedabad by the intersections of urban redevelopment, globalization and Hindutva politics. Over the past several years, she has been involved in research projects on sanitation in informal settlements, land and housing tenures, displacement and resettlement, and construction workers’ housing in cities like Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Nagpur and Guwahati. Renu has published several book chapters and journal articles on her research, and is co-editor of Urbanizing Citizenship: Contested Spaces in Indian Cities (New Delhi: Sage 2012)
This is the sixty nine 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: Christine Ithurbide at firstname.lastname@example.org , Partha Mukhopadhyay at email@example.com or Marie-Hélène Zerah at firstname.lastname@example.org