South Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Spanning Boundaries? Exploring Expectations from and Negotiations of Urban Regeneration in Delhi’s Informal Settlements

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

This paper analyses how residents in informal settlements in Delhi articulate, understand and negotiate urban regeneration projects. Drawing on fieldwork in two colonies in East Delhi, the paper seeks to unpack how expectations of urban regeneration are expressed, acted upon and lived out. Our analysis is rooted in the specific context of Delhi’s planning/governance landscape that is marked by degrees of formality and informality. Our field interactions reveal varied aspirational aspects in residents’ expectations from urban regeneration, such as housing improvements, neighborhood improvements, and building redevelopments to create commercial and residential rental spaces. These are negotiated through multiple actors, networks, and processes that span the boundaries of the state, market, and society, and of legality/illegality and formality/informality. The paper attempts to understand whether and how these multiple and often overlapping boundaries are crossed or not, and the spectrum of actors that are engaged in such processes. We argue that urban regeneration is multi-layered, contextual and localized, leading to the emergence of multiple actors with diverse modalities of engagement and interests, often in conflict with each other. Whatever the relationship between these multiple and varied actors, domains of cooperation and conflict are strategically negotiated by residents as well as the actors themselves. We argue that residents are at the center of all these layered relationships, with implications for how we understand the relevance of everyday politics for the urban.

Eesha Kunduri

Centre for Policy Research, India

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Mukta Naik

Centre for Policy Research, India

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