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Urban Regeneration & Development Induced Displacements in Neoliberalising Cities: A Case of Ahmedabad

Sejal Patel, CEPT University (Center for Environmental Planning and Technology), India
Friday 17th May 2013 - 1:00pm
Room 1.65, Glamorgan Building

Public lecture hosted by the Spatial Planning and City Environments Research Group.

Urban regeneration and development induced displacement and resettlement raises questions about distribution of the benefits of development.

It is well demonstrated, though mostly in case of rural and tribal displacements, that displaces endure substantial risks of social economic and cultural impoverishments, raising issues of social justice and equity. Nevertheless  state hegemony rationalizes these concerns  with its rhetoric of ‘greater good for larger numbers’ maintaining  that rehabilitation of the displacees to prior levels of wellbeing can be achieved, thereby justifying avoidable ills.

Large scale displacements of poor households living in informal self built neighbourhoods  is  witnessed in most Indian cities. The displacements, caused by forced land acquisition for urban renewal and infrastructure projects,  are incumbent to the process of globalization and neoliberal reforms of local governance in Indian cities.

This paper addresses the consequences of the nexus between urban renewal and infrastructure projects, new local governance arrangements and the processes of displacement and resettlement of poor households as it occurs in  Ahmedabad, India. The findings indicate that  various forms of economic, social and psychological impoverishment have emerged in the displaces in the current practices in Ahmedabad.

Contrary to the State rhetoric, the urban poor are excluded from the infrastructure and resettlement project processes  leading to  lack of understanding of their needs by the State. The issue of  impoverishment due to displacement  in Ahmedabad is characterized by  limited attention in  policy rhetoric and even less attention in practices. Displacement and resettlement therefore emerge as  a major contributor to urban impoverishment and associated problems.