Contested Developments: Enduring Legacies and Emergent Political Actors in Contemporary Urban India

Liza Weinstein, Neha Sami, Gavin Shatkin | 2014


This chapter seeks to place contemporary urban political reform in India within the broad historical context of the development of urban governance in the colonial and postcolonial period. It begins by exploring the colonial and postcolonial roots of the weakness of municipal governments, focusing on colonial and postcolonial patterns of neglect of urban politics and deference to urban local economic and propertied interests. Next, it discusses roughly in chronological order, the post-liberalisation national, state, and local urban reform measures that have sought both to subject the field of urban reform to market forces and to enable powerful state and non-state actors in cities to form coalitions around shared agendas of growth-oriented governance. Finally, the chapter reviews the actors who are enjoying newfound sources of political influence in the post-liberalisation era and whose interests are shaping contestations over the new growth-oriented politics.