ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On the Sabarmati Riverfront

Urban Planning as Totalitarian Governance in Ahmedabad


The web version of this article corrects a few errors that appeared in the print edition.

The official narrative presents Ahmedabad as a pioneer in urban transformation in India. This paper questions whether these claims engage with the experiences of the urban poor in Ahmedabad by examining processes around the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project. Highlighted here are the roles played by the architectural consultancy, city administrators and political managers, as well as community groups, civil society and academic institutions. The efficiency of the administration showed an active anti-poor stance in the court proceedings and in the violence of actual evictions and post-eviction suffering. The evidence presented here also shows how "world-class" urban planning has facilitated yet another blatant instance of "accumulation by dispossession" via the flow of the Sabarmati.


I am grateful to Mona G Mehta, Renu Desai, Sangeeta Banerji, Ankur Sarin, Anant Maringanti, Ghanshyam Shah, Vineet Diwadkar, Salamah Ansari, Darshini Mahadevia, Ashima Sood and anonymous reviewers of this journal for comments and contributions.

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