Expert Advice? Assessing the Role of the State in Promoting Privatized Planning


There is been a growing debate about the privatization of urban planning, particularly in the context of cities in the Global South (Hogan et al., 2012; Shatkin, ), closely tied to the growing role that non-state actors now play in the process of conceptualizing, making, and implementing plans. Research has shown how networked experts, especially consultants, have facilitated “fast policy transfer” (Bunnell and Das, ) shaping urban policies and material realities across political and geographical contexts. Building on these debates, we aim to first, understand the role of national and regional governments in enabling the emergence of private actors in planning; and, second, to understand the graduated and nuanced functions that consultants perform at different scales and across different types of projects. Drawing on research in the Indian context, this paper attempts to better understand how private and quasi-private consultants are shaping our urban regions and its implications.