Saturday, August 12, 2017

Some articles related to Bengaluru development

A recent article Bangalore, before the dystopia: The birth, life, and death of India’s most liveable city emindedof the work of Solomon Benjamin which I read years ago. Here is one by him from 2010 :
The aesthetics of the 'ground up' city:
"In this argumentation, one might explore how spaces are created via popular actions and represent an entrepreneurial and resilient spirit to reflect on. While this is useful to consider, the oppositional argumentation remains disciplined squarely within the terms of the planned city. Such disciplining becomes pertinent in our times where the normative intent and zeal around the practices of master planning are burdened by the anxiety of being ‘globally competitive’.

Thus, the popular practice of making a livable ‘place’ would remain subservient to a meta process. Place is thus abdicated and imprisoned within a larger politics. Put simply, such an argument can be narrow in its political project and one can visualize a master planner’s statement such as: ‘…while we appreciate these efforts by the people at building living spaces, we need to make our cities sites to receive "proper" globally connected "economic development"…’ The aesthetics of the popular city remains localized and, in being disciplined by the meta forces of progress and developmentalism, subject to the trajectory of ‘time’.5

Such a disciplining is convenient as also driven in more material ways – by fear. For the elite, anxious to shape and secure property in their own image, this is the fear of the uncertain, the unknown stranger who inhabits and transforms, who occupies, and makes places that were once familiar different. Equally, the ‘stranger’, the immigrant seeking refuge, inhabiting spaces is also marked by fear – of being pushed away, and the need for quieter ways of entry and consolidation. If so, then the aesthetics emerges from complex processes that we witness and experience on a day-to-day basis.
This day-to-day city aesthetics, which includes the street bazaar, the unexpected extensions on terraces, the shop in the front room, and even the roadside temple or shrine, is connected to how we engage with the concept of the ‘middle class’: Are the ‘middle’ class’s amorphous relationships to the city heightened by projections of modernity and reinforced by fearing the ‘lower’ class as an ‘encroaching slum’? Or, are its relationships with ‘the rest of society’ more complicated, making concepts such as ‘the middle class’ redundant and locating them perhaps in a politics of brand consultants that seek to portray India as an emerging market?"
Here is another article which may be a preliminary version of the reference 8 in the above article.
Some of these links come from an earlier post.
Another earlier Post which has links to some other work of Solomon Benjamin.

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