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Urban planning in vernacular governance : land use planning and violations in the city of Bangalore, India / Jayaraj Sundaresan. [Thesis]

By: Sundaresan, Jayaraj.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : London School of Economics & Political Science, Department of Geography and Environment, 2013Description: 390 p. ; col. ill., maps : 30 cm.ISBN: (hbk.).Subject(s): City Planning -- Bangalore (India) -- Case study | Urban & land use planning -- Bangalore (India) | Bangalore (India) -- Politics and governmentDDC classification: 333.7313095487 SUN Summary: My PhD theorizes the ways in which urban geographies are planned and governed in India. For this purpose, I explore the non-poor illegal geographies of land use violations in the city of Bangalore as a site to interrogate how urban planning practice operates within the local culture of governance. The central questions of my research are how and why land use violations in the non-poor neighborhoods of Bangalore are produced, sustained and contested in spite of the elaborate mechanisms for planning implementation and enforcement. Using a relational state-society framework and conceptualising a new language of ‘Vernacular Governance’, I examine the relationship between land use violations and the planning process through ethnography of planning and governance networks and proposes three theses. Firstly, using a relational state-society framework and demonstrating in detail how various private and public interest networks that inhabit the planning practice in Bangalore operate, I propose to move beyond the informal/formal dualism while conceptualizing the way the built environment and urban infrastructure is planned, regulated, produced, lived and violated in Bangalore. Second, I demonstrate the inadequacy of the dominant conceptual categories like ‘informality’, ‘resistance’ and so on and propose that violations should be understood as the outcome of the planning practice. Third, by demonstrating how planning power is widely captured within various associational networks, I argue that planning power is best understood as located in the networks of association; rather than in state or planning authority operating through the structures of ‘weberian’ bureaucracy. In other words, I propose that planning and urban governance scholars should examine how particular state -society relationship constructs particular kind of governance cultures, planning authority, power and powerlessness. Land use violations are, therefore proposed as a geographic site to examine power and politics in the urban planning practice (beyond institutions and process) in India. In developing my thesis, I draw upon a wide range of theoretical literature on planning, development, informality, state and bureaucracy, corruption, anthropology of everyday state, urban politics, network governance, participation, social movements, neighborhood activism, planning power and governmentality. My data set included illegal, paralegal and legal projects and practices that comprised the bag of violation; policy documents, court cases, discourses and narratives from planning and public administration; neighborhood conflicts and the various local social movements; social and ecological impacts that illuminated the site of violation beyond the usual discourses of the ‘informal’, ‘neo-liberal’, ‘middle class’, and ‘good governance’. I consider that my thesis is a modest contribution to the scholarship on the developing south, particularly the anxieties around the ‘new geographies of theory’. I consider that my findings raise important questions on the way we understand the practice of urban planning and governance in India and elsewhere, in particular, how power and authority operate in the shaping of the urban geography through policy, regulation, conflicts and contest.
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Thesis Thesis Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore
333.7313095487 SUN 004479 (Browse shelf) Available 004479

"A thesis submitted to the Department of Geography and Environment of the London School of Economics for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, London, December 2013".t.page

Includes bibliographical references.

My PhD theorizes the ways in which urban geographies are planned and governed in India. For this purpose, I explore the non-poor illegal geographies of land use violations in the city of Bangalore as a site to interrogate how urban planning practice operates within the local culture of governance. The central questions of my research are how and why land use violations in the non-poor neighborhoods of Bangalore are produced, sustained and contested in spite of the elaborate mechanisms for planning implementation and enforcement. Using a relational state-society framework and conceptualising a new language of ‘Vernacular Governance’, I examine the relationship between land use violations and the planning process through ethnography of planning and governance networks and proposes three theses. Firstly, using a relational state-society framework and demonstrating in detail how various private and public interest networks that inhabit the planning practice in Bangalore operate, I propose to move beyond the informal/formal dualism while conceptualizing the way the built environment and urban infrastructure is planned, regulated, produced, lived and violated in Bangalore. Second, I demonstrate the inadequacy of the dominant conceptual categories like ‘informality’, ‘resistance’ and so on and propose that violations should be understood as the outcome of the planning practice. Third, by demonstrating how planning power is widely captured within various associational networks, I argue that planning power is best understood as located in the networks of association; rather than in state or planning authority operating through the structures of ‘weberian’ bureaucracy. In other words, I propose that planning and urban governance scholars should examine how particular state -society relationship constructs particular kind of governance cultures, planning authority, power and powerlessness. Land use violations are, therefore proposed as a geographic site to examine power and politics in the urban planning practice (beyond institutions and process) in India. In developing my thesis, I draw upon a wide range of theoretical literature on planning, development, informality, state and bureaucracy, corruption, anthropology of everyday state, urban politics, network governance, participation, social movements, neighborhood activism, planning power and governmentality. My data set included illegal, paralegal and legal projects and practices that comprised the bag of violation; policy documents, court cases, discourses and narratives from planning and public administration; neighborhood conflicts and the various local social movements; social and ecological impacts that illuminated the site of violation beyond the usual discourses of the ‘informal’, ‘neo-liberal’, ‘middle class’, and ‘good governance’. I consider that my thesis is a modest contribution to the scholarship on the developing south, particularly the anxieties around the ‘new geographies of theory’. I consider that my findings raise important questions on the way we understand the practice of urban planning and governance in India and elsewhere, in particular, how power and authority operate in the shaping of the urban geography through policy, regulation, conflicts and contest.

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