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

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City Planning in India under British Rule

British planning for Indian cities laboured under serious internal contradictions. As a colonial power, Britain ruled India primarily for its own benefit; at the same time, it had to address all the usual issues of urban governance, such as control of space, provision of water, sewerage, roads, street lighting and police. Naturally enough, the British often viewed Indian problems through the lens of Britain's experience in its own first era of rapid industrialisation, urbanisation, and popular democracy. India's conditions were, however, quite dissimilar and the immense size and diversity of India produced divergent policies in different regions and at various times. Even where policies may have been similar, their implementation and reception frequently varied. In England, efforts to plan towns effectively lacked sufficient funding and personnel; in India, these shortcomings were far more severe. Nevertheless, British planning bequeathed to India enduring legacies - positive and negative - in urban architecture, physical planning, and the administrative mechanisms of governance.

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