Fractal Urbanism: Residential-segregation in Modernising India

20 November 2019

Watch the full video (above) of the discussion on ‘Fractal Urbanism: Residential-segregation in Modernising India‘ featuring Andaleeb Rahman.

The presentation showed how residential caste-segregation is independent of city size, using the first-ever large-scale evidence of neighbourhood-resolution data from 147 of the largest cities in contemporary India (the sample includes all cities in India with at least 0.3 million residents in 2011). This analysis sheds new light on one of the central conundrums in Indian urbanism — the persistence of caste segregation across the country, and across cities of varying sizes. It documents how patterns of residential caste segregation in the largest metropolitan centres with over 10 million residents closely track patterns in much smaller cities that are nearly two orders-of-magnitude smaller. This finding punctures a hole in one of the central normative promises of India’s urbanisation — the gradual withering of traditional caste-based segregation. These national findings are complemented by a unique census-scale micro-data containing detailed elementary caste (jati) information for nearly five million urban households in Karnataka. The analysis provides further fine-grained evidence of how segregation within the wards at census-block scales accounts for a significant part of the city scale patterns of segregation and is a central driver of ghettoisation of the most spatially marginalised groups in urban India — Muslims and Dalits. The authors offered several hypotheses and explanations and discussed implications for urban planning, policy, as well as broader modernisation theories.

Andaleeb Rahman is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at Cornell University. His research interest lies in the area of food policy and ethnic politics.

The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here.

The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.