Planning, ‘Violations’, and Urban Inclusion: A Study of Bhubaneswar

Geetika Anand, Anushree Deb | March 2017

Abstract:

Most cities of the global south are partially (many a times largely) auto-constructed (Caldiera, 2014), defying the laws or logics of planning. Too often, this auto-construction is misrecognised simply as the “failure” and “violation” of planning, what in the Indian landscape is also called an implementation gap. Yet how should we understand “violation” and “failure” when it is done by a large proportion of city residents, often by the city’s poorest residents as a claim to the city and shelter, and at the same time by the rich through influence? What does the fact that our cities are auto-constructed tell us about planning? How should planning respond to such “violations” that combine both the difficulty of orderly urban development with concerns for urban equity and inclusion?

This study seeks to help find answers to such questions by studying the nature, kind and quantum of land use violations in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar. The report looks closely at one kind of violation in Bhubaneswar– the “slum”. The methodology involved mapping slums against the Master Plan to assess the precise nature of the violation at hand and then drawing a typology of differential vulnerability (based on tenurial and property rights) and distance from formal planning. It is argued that it is essential to dis-aggregate the category of “slum” into the varied historical, spatial and legal forms of settlement that are within this category. In conclusion, suggestions are made on how to understand these “violations,” and how to frame the engagement between slums, “violations” and Master Plans.