The Intent to Reside: Spatial Illegality, Inclusive Planning, and Urban Social Security


This chapter explores the de jure and de facto impact of spatial illegality on access to rights and entitlements by urban residents in Indian cities and does so focusing on the question of access to such entitlements by residents of ‘slums’. It is structured in four parts. The first reviews debates on how to consider and define spatial informality and illegality and presents a generalized set of empirics of illegal inhabitation in Indian cities. The second, then, looks at a range of social security programmes for health, education, housing, and access to basic services. Within each, it shows the impacts that spatial illegality has in determining and limiting access to rights and entitlements for particular residents. Through this analysis, it argues that even within increasingly universally imagined programmes, spatial illegality has the potential of undoing a viable social safety net. The third section then suggests a possible framework on how to overcome such limitations: shifting the foundation of place-based entitlements from proof of a certain term or tenure of residence to an Intent to Reside (ITR) approach based on universalised entitlements. In the concluding section, it outlines key challenges that such a shift will inevitably face in conception as well as implementation.