Both London And Mumbai Cultural Studies Essay

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Although ostensibly very different, both London and Mumbai have similarities not only in shared history through British colonialism but also in many aspects of their socio-economic, political and spatial re-structuring. Once thriving manufacturing centres they have suffered sharp decline with an accompanying growth in their financial and business services sectors promoting them as leading global financial centres.

With the advent of modernity, many planners attempted to concretize their understanding of global cities and the development of urban geographies by identifying dominant planning discourses and evaluating to what extent these ideologies and policies have realized their socially just constitution. Using a critical comparative perspective this paper emphasizes on recognizing planning policies in the regeneration of London's Docklands and rehabilitation of Mumbai slums which vary from entrepreneurial planning to insurgent practices to the more recent communicative and participatory models, also identifying whether they succeeded in resolving the unmistakable inequalities, social injustices and urban fragmentation characteristics of their respective locales. Moreover, I would like explore these planning policies in the light of what Smith calls the "neglected sieve of space" (Smith, 2003, p. ix) broadening the concept of planning to a spatial practice intricately interwoven in the struggles of global cities.

Combining Purcell's (2008) insightful interpretation of Lefebrve's 'Right to the City' as a right to inhabit and occupy space and Young's pluralistic five faceted concepts of injustice as oppression, I believe in the significance of a pluralist view in defining social justice combining it with a critical spatial perspective (Dikec, 2001; Soja 2010) in addition to the emphasis on moving beyond outcomes to processes and mobilization (Young,1990; Harvey,1973). Therefore I see social justice as a set of social and institutional processes ensuring fair and equitable access to opportunities and participation in social, economic and political life through spatially conscious practices that secure the well being, dignity, respect and representation of all members of society.

The continuous regeneration of Docklands reveals much about trends in regeneration and planning and how neo-liberal discourses and governance frameworks further deepened social and spatial inequalities (Brownill, 2011). In an attempt to simplify the Docklands complex development and planning frameworks that spanned for decades I have divided it into three main phases to show how different planning approaches have been in continuous conflict becoming embedded over time and space.

The pre-LDDC era (1960s till 1981):

This period emphasized how urban planning policies were market driven and reflective of the state's dominating economic and social policies with inadequate public participation - which however well intended in concept were very limited in its practical manifestations. This was evident in the Docklands first planning 'responses' which coincided with a sharp decline in local populations employment majorly because of government's de-industrializing policies (RCP in nature) which were accentuated with the first GLDP Draft in 1969. With the re-election of a conservative GLC the socio-spatial structures of the urban environment were further destroyed by the development of state funded high-rise building blocks (Brownill, 1990). Subsequently, these strategies brought the emergence of incremental planning the 'Developing Docklands' period or what Brownill labels as "Bringing the West End into the East End" (Brownill, 1990, p. 21). It was then that the central government realized the capital potential of the Docklands property as an 'asset' and so removed it from local planning to the central government's hands which was met with opposition from the local councils. This period was also marked by the formation of the Dockland Forum and DJC in 1974 representing various community groups in addition to the UCDs announced by Thatcher's government in 1979; which were Ogden describes as "single-minded development agencies dedicated to achieving rapid regeneration in economic, employments and environmental terms" (Ogden, 1992, p. 20).

The LDDC era (1981-1998):

First wave (1981-1987) in which opportunistic entrepreneurial management planning prevailed in the early years of this phase with neo-liberal economic policies clearly dominating the agendas of policy makers (Martin, McCann and Purcell, 2003). The state and LDDC aimed to counter market failure and the inefficiencies of the public sector by driving a top-down development agenda through transport infrastructure, land and marketing investments (Brownill, 1999, 2011). The Canary Wharf presents an ultimate spatial manifestation of regeneration framework that focused on design and aesthetics rather than strategy which accentuated the uneven distribution of space and gentrification replacing the local working class with a middle class. The Second wave (1987-1998) came with the election of a Conservative government in 1987. It was then that the local government and community found that more could be gained if they negotiated with the LDDC rather than oppose it and so the LDDC and investors signed agreements with local authorities securing social benefits in return for development permissions. A consensus towards 'social regeneration' measures transpired in response to criticism from local residents, concerns from the parliament and developers about the lack of social investment (ibid).

Post-LDDC era 1998-2008:

In this phase a mix of discourses, planning policies and governance co-existed, evolved and interacted, in addition to new narratives of sustainable planning focusing on social participation and inclusion towards the later years of this era. The election of a labour government in 1997 brought "a return to rhetoric and ideology in the U.K. politics" (Brownill, 2011, p.1134) more importantly the shift to decentralization resulted in a complex geography of networked governance. The GLA -formed in 1999- and the London plan re-introduced aspects of strategic RCP planning with broad scopes of intervention. Additionally, examples of EMP practices are shown with the re-emergence of the UDCs and special zones to attract private investment while ensuring social inclusion. Nevertheless the local community was still a 'backdrop' for the development with limited local group representation and participation.

In his 'urban convergence' hypothesis Cohen highlights how emerging urban patterns of global cities in the north and south are becoming similar in many aspects (Cohen, 1996). However, to avoid generalization and abstract accounts of cities I would like to stress the importance of their 'path dependence' (Mahoney, 2000) in shaping their planning policies, governance frameworks and distinct urban geographies. The Docklands provide insightful sources of demonstrating the role of the state in encouraging neo-liberal 'finance-capital' based planning of urban geographies, whereas Mumbai in contrast provides evidentiary material for planning theory in presenting what Harris calls 'developmental capital' (Harris, 2008) as a planning agent disbursed by global financing institutions such as the IMF and World Bank this contributed greatly in changing urban forms, and shaping a more representative and favourable policy environment.

Although it is possible to identify some aspects of incremental planning policies in small scale and sectoral projects in Mumbai with NGOs such as SPARC and Mahila Milan playing a negotiating intermediary role between slum dwellers, the state and the World Bank; the dominant planning policy is that of an communicative insurgent nature and is especially evident in the beginning of the slum resettlement projects. Sandercock describes these as "the most promising experiments in insurgent planning have involved mobilized communities forging coalitions to work for broad objectives of economic, environmental, social and cultural justice and in the process resisting, engaging with and participating in 'the state'." (Sandercock, 2003, p. 211).

Both the Docklands and Mumbai saw the importance of infrastructure and transport upgrading. In Mumbai this was designed primarily to encourage new private investment and increase the efficiency of the transport network and the city. The resettlement and rehabilitation schemes of the Kanjur Marg and Bharat Nagar slum dwellers from beside the railway tracks in Mumbai provide explicit examples of these 'mobilized' planning 'experiments' of extensive engagement between CBOs: RSDF and NSDF, NGOs: SPARC and the state: Indian Railways (a department of the Central Government) and the State Government of Maharashtra in addition to international organizations: the World Bank. In addition to the inclusive and democratic collaborative attribute, these projects were distinctive because the community's resettlement was voluntarily in addition to being participatory; engaging the slum dweller community in picking the land, surveying, mapping, planning, implementing and managing the relocation process (Patel, Burra and d'Cruz, 2002). Nevertheless these relocation processes are inevitably struggles over urban space.

These Mumbai urban experiments are 'precedence setting' examples to slum dweller relocation that could be replicated but also present planning material for theory from the global South in which Mumbai is seen as a 'worlding' city closely tied to global frameworks staged at the urban scale around the world. Yet Mumbai also provides "examples of a home grown neoliberization, one produced to consolidate post-colonial sovereignty and territory" (Roy, 2011, p.10) Such 'referenced urbanization' is not only a product of neo-liberal state planning policies but also though what Roy sees as SPARCs "urban aspirations of middle-class associations and elite NGOs all seeking to create the good city" (ibid).

It is worth noting that this participatory planning process was also marked with social injustices' and inequalities, where the relocation was speeded up to allow for the construction of new railway tracks. With the notion of "civic governmentality" (Roy, 2009, p. 161) SPARC functions as a form of government serving as a mediating institution and not a representative of the slumd wellers

Notwithstanding the fact that

The interm

Neil Smith provides a very informative insight on while the production of space is a global process, this develops on the urban and city scale (Smith, 2002). Roy also makes reference to the city scale "To understand the urban character of capitalism it is necessary to pay attention to how the city, as a platform of market rule and state practice is implicated in various projects of neoliberalism, developmentalism, modernization and postcolonialism." (Roy, 2011, p.8). Therefore, to comprehend complex planning frameworks and their consequential urban geographies it is integral to accentuate on the scale of the city firstly how as an 'urbanistic practice' planning processes are interconnected in the struggles of the capitalist city and secondly to focus on social justice and in what manner its spatial manifestations are necessary components to articulate the 'how' and 'for whom' planning theories are conceptualized and practiced. I would like to do this through exploring the following aspects of social justice:

Right to the city

I refer here to the notion of the 'right to the city' of conceived by Henri Lefebrve's


Although the community was explicitly involved in the Docklands inner city regeneration plan with the formation of the Docklands Forum in 1974, their participation in shaping their social and urban spaces was limited to consultation and occurred after major decisions had been made by the central government (Brownill,1990) driving the planning process towards a 'demand-led' response to the neo-liberal market (the private sector particularly) rather than ' need-based' seeking solutions to the area's lack of housing and employment (Ogden, 1992). Moreover, the private consultants Travers Morgan had addressed the aspirations of the conservative central government and private sector governed by profit rather than the local population asserting the already existing social injustices and confirming the methodological exclusion of members of society.

Space is produced by individuals, planners, organizations and states moreover urban space is negotiated by various actors each of who have their own aim and vision.

Mumbai: women were the main savers


In Dikec's view urban policy is "a practice regime of representation" (Dikec, 2007, p. 21). The introduction of democratic representation measures as an integral principal of urban planning is a tool in which people can express and support their social, spatial, political and economic claims. As a result, this plays an instrumental role in driving urban developments towards a more spatially and socially just environment. In the Docklands the formation of the LLDC in 1981 was met with criticism on many representation issues in what Brownill sees as "Issues around governance of urban policies who is included and excluded by non-elected agencies" (Brownill, 1999, p.45), whereas the Conservative government argued that the Docklands' scale and severity of decline warranted a national response rather than a local one also that it was essential for a development as complex and significant as the London Docklands to be managed by one "unbureaucratic, fast moving organisation" to complete "flexible development plan" with the tight time constraints (Ward, 1986, p.120 & 118). As a UDC the LDDC is "free from the social obligations and expenses of the local authorities...(and so) is able to pursue the unambiguous objectives of economic redevelopment and encouragement to the private sector" (Ogden, 1992, p.13).

Almost all slums have registered Resident

Associations. CBOs were initially formed to fight demolitions.

However, the extent of participation by the

community and continuity of participation is issuebased

and varies in different slums at different times.

Most settlements have a slum leader or a local politician

who is the final arbitrator of disputes. In several

areas, it is powerful women who play the role of mediators

(Sharma, 2000 p 131).

Equal access to opportunities

Dikec offers an interesting reflection on the role of planning policies in the control of urban spaces "Injustice in the city was the domination of urban space, pushing the workers away from the city where rent was no longer affordable. Injustice was at once socially and spatially manifest, and above all, was produced not only socially but spatially as well." (Dikec, 2001, p. 1792). Reflecting on this formulation, the 1970s rezoning of much of the Docklands from industrial to 'West End uses" provide a very explicit case of both social and spatial injustice by undermining and driving away the local working-class from the highly desirable city-centres in what can be even seen as 'land occupancy' by the powerful (capital, developers and the neo-liberal state) (Ogden, 1992). This created a social and spatial gulf between the newcomers and the local population that were far from benefitting from the major investments and moving of capital into the Docklands.

"Wide diffusion is acheived and at the same time regeneration is sensitive to local diversity and needs"


Well being and quality of life

In addition to the apparent spatial and urban regeneration, the creation of a 'balanced' community mix was an important aspiration for the Docklands however the restructuring of housing and employment has greatly impacted the social relations altering the demographic component of the local population bringing up reservations about 'who' has benefitted from this huge development and investment. A great indicator of the quality of life driven by the conservative party's economic policies and urban interventions was that the total employment in the Dockland fell 27% from 1978 to 1981. Further on, protests against the LLDC since its inception shifted the government's attitude and policies distinctively in the late 1980s towards providing a better quality of life to the local population promising some benefits as part of its large development scheme (Ogden, 1992). However, the limitations of this is clear in how employment in the Docklands remained unchanged from 3,553 in 1981 to 3,328 in 1991 (ibid).


Docklands socially injust in intention and practice

Mumbai socially injust in intention but just in practice through collaboration and community participation