The 21st century urbanization under neoliberalisation unfolding in the countries of the Global South is characterized by unprecedented increase in population and infrastructure demand, and by dramatic spatial and institutional transformation, which has escalated inequality at multiple scales. United Nations report World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2018 Revision predicts that urbanisation is set to raise to 70% by 2050 with majority of the countries in the Global South doubling their population. Consequently, sustainably accommodating this growth coupled with infrastructure provision remains a challenge.
Two important expressions of spatial transformation manifesting inequality under neoliberalisation are the development of mega projects by the national governments for capital accumulation, and the land use, infrastructural and socio-metabolic transformation of the non-city spaces to support the socioeconomic dynamics and metropolitan development. There is sufficient evidence that the benefits of these mega projects do not trickle down and escalate sociospatial inequalities. Also, the rural-urban transformations under capitalism due to inequitable access to resources continuously produce differentiated, unevenly developed sociospatial configurations.
Consequently, escalation of inequality remains a major concern not only for researchers but also for policy makers, and recently the debate has intensified as substantial theoretical and empirical research gaps remains in studying inequalities. Scholars underscore the need of new approaches to describe and explain inequalities across space, scale and time.
Two initiative deemed crucial to reduce spatial disparities are spatial decentralization and corridor development for diffusing socio-economic development to peripheral areas. In India, spatial decentralization has been a traditional component of spatial planning since the first Interim General Plan for Greater Delhi of 1956. In 2006, India adopted Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor strategy with an overall aim of creating strong economic base for increasing manufacturing and service sector jobs as well as to enhance regional and urban-rural connectivity to trickle the development to lagging areas. Despite these initiatives, Indian urban landscape is characterised by spatial disparities where growth is concentrated in large metropolitan cities.
As per United Nations report World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights India will be one of the nine countries where more than half of the future growth will be concentrated with an absolute increase of 273 million people between 2019 and 2050. Under prevalent disparities, accommodating this increase will be an enormous challenge for India, given its limited institutional capacity to manage growth and provide infrastructure. Consequently, facilitating and restoring sustainability will be crucial for India’s urbanisation process.
This project takes the states in India through which the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor will pass as a study area and aims to fill the above research gaps by developing an analytical framework hinged on a theoretical foundation for reducing disparities by integrating infrastructure provision with settlement structure. This framework using mixed methods and multiscale approach cutting across time enables discerning and explaining spatial disparities across space and time. The development of such a framework makes two novel contributions to urban research: first, it underscores the relevance of classic urban theories and models for investigating and interpreting the spatial disparities in the regions of the Global South. Second, given data scarcity in these regions, the employment of mixed methods for understanding spatial disparities can be used as a proactive planning tool by policy makers to formulate evidence-based policies for reducing disparities by integrating growth with infrastructure provision.
The following research papers either published or submitted are an outcome of this project findings:
Jain, Manisha; Korzhenevych, Artem; Mukherjee Basu, Anurima (2021): Integrating spatial development with infrastructure provision along an envisioned transport corridor: A conceptual framework and its application to India. In: Land Use Policy, 104: 105364.
Jain, Manisha; Jehling, Mathias (2020): Urban cycle models revisited: Insights for regional development in India. In: Cities, 107, 102923, S. 1-12.
Jain, Manisha; Jehling, Mathias (2020): Analysing transport corridor policies: An integrative approach to reduce spatial and social disparities in India. In: Journal of Transport Geography, 86, 102781, S. 1-10.
Jain, Manisha; Korzhenevych, Artem (2020): Urbanisation as the rise of census towns in India: An outcome of traditional master planning? In: Cities, 99, 102627.
Jain, Manisha; Hecht, Robert (2019): Spatial assessment of commuting patterns in India’s National Capital Region. In: Built Environment, 45 (4), S. 507-522.
Jain, Manisha; Korzhenevych, Artem (2019): Detection of urban system in India: Urban hierarchy revisited. In: Urban and Landscape Planning, 190, 103588, S. 1-10.
Jain, Manisha; Korzhenevych, Artem; Namperumal, Sridharan (2019): Determinants of growth in non-municipal areas of Delhi: Rural-urban dichotomy revisited. In: Journal of Housing & Built Environment, 34, S. 715-734.
Jain, Manisha; Korzhenevych, Artem; Hecht, Robert (Under Review): Two decades of urban and rural restructuring in India: An empirical investigation. In: Habitat International.
Jain, Manisha; Korzhenevych, Artem (Under Review): Discerning institutional and spatial restructuring under emergent neoliberal projects in India. In: Political Geography.
Jain, Manisha; Korzhenevych, Artem (Under review): The concept of planetary urbanization applied to India’s rural to urban transformation. In: Cities.
Jain, Manisha (under progress): Assessment of spatial disparities in India: a contribution to advancing urban research methods in rapid growth contexts. (Habilitation manuscript)