Workshop Summary: Urban Planning and the Heterogeneous City

What: A workshop on the technical, social and political controversies around the 2014-2034 Mumbai Development Plan
Held on 23rd November, 2016
Where: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
By the Laboratory of Urban Sociology, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland and the Center for Urban Policy and Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

The closed workshop was aimed as an interactive space between the research team, academics, practitioners and civil society groups. The workshop had two main goals. Firstly it enabled to create a space for dialogue and reflection together with various actors from different backgrounds that participated in the making of the Development Plan (DP); secondly it was the opportunity to present and validate the preliminary findings of the analysis. These two goals had the objective to increase and deepen the research team’s knowledge about the intricate process that is the DP.

The workshop began with presenting the theoretical and methodological framework. Which was followed by sharing the process of discovery, media and textual analysis and the use of timeline as an analytical tool. This multipronged approach was put forward to unravel the diverse and contrasting, conflictive, contested and complex contexts within which urban planning has to deal with in todays’ heterogeneous city. The panellists discussed the DP’s basic characteristics, questions of implementation, but also various visions of the city and political process that are linked to its planning. This session not only initiated an academic debate but also acted as a catalyst for dialogue among participants from various backgrounds and viewpoints over the course of the workshop.

For the afternoon session, three texts around specific aspects of the DP – Politics of Regulation, Categories and Participation were presented by the research team. The discussion was initiated by responses from two main discussants for each session followed by contributions and comments from the participants. The session on Politics of Regulation brought to the fore various conflicting cosmos underpinning the competing view points and visions of the city, nature of participation and planning. Thus, giving rise to politics around market regulations often imagined as technical instruments. Politics of Categories brought out the political dimension of boundary making, thus, highlighting the dynamics of inclusion-exclusion inherent to planning. Through the use of the timeline as an analytical tool, the geographies and modes of participation employed by various actors were analysed and presented. The discussions allowed the team to go more into details and specificities of the DP process and furthered understanding the various opinions across the three subjects. This workshop helped the team to further the research and sharpen the analysis by bringing together theory and practice at the intersection of planning, architecture social sciences to gain deeper understanding of the making of todays’ cities.

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