Development and Urbanization
This paper will critically examine current development paths in India’s metropolitan regions with regard to social and environmental sustainability. Taking Greater Hyderabad as a case, it will review subnational state policies aimed at attracting investments to particular peri-urban spaces and examine the implications of such policies for spatial development, governance and sustainability. Hyderabad has experienced dramatic transformation of its western periphery in the last two decades and this area now boasts one of the India’s most dynamic software and services clusters. This urban development has been catalysed through state-led initiatives, usually in partnership with private developers, resulting in new landscapes that include several large-scale industrial estates, e.g., HITEC City, Financial District. A policy emphasis on area-based development has created a patchwork of premium enclaves —large-scale office buildings, gated residential communities and commercial spaces—, which are often managed through ad hoc privatised governance mechanisms. Interspersed among the new developments are the ordinary spaces of this not-so-long ago periphery: villages, informal settlements, resettlement colonies, and common lands in the form of rocky landscapes or water bodies. Although this entire area was merged with the municipality a decade ago, it continues to be characterized by heterogeneous governance arrangements and institutional fragmentation. Building on insights from fieldwork-based research, mainly interviews with different categories of actors, this paper will discuss a range of sustainability issues with a focus on social and spatial fragmentation, on one hand, and urban governance, on the other.