Urban Housing, Livelihoods and Environmental Challenges in Emerging Economies
Rajesh Bhattacharya and Annapurna Shaw
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

In the twenty-first century, for the first time in history, the world’s urban population exceeded its rural population. However, the rural–urban migration driving this urbanisation in developing countries has resulted in a growing informal economic sector and informal settlements such as slums. This informality lies at the heart of urban policy challenges in developing countries.

This volume highlights the connected issues of urban housing, livelihoods and environment through perspectives from key emerging economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and Thailand—so as to harness the different histories of different societies for an exploration of common contemporary problems.

Researchers and practitioners working on policy formulation, critical research and grassroots activities from around the world provide case studies, micro-histories and macro-comparisons that shed light on the vexed problem of unchecked urbanisation in developing nations. Key questions are highlighted: the role of the state in low-income urban housing; the role of the community and civil society in the context of ethnic diversity and informality of urban growth; and the impact of liberalisation and globalisation on housing policies.

The authors advocate involving the poor in housing questions so that they become ‘negotiating partners’ in navigating solutions that affect their lives and livelihoods. Critiquing the imposition of a ‘smart cities’ mentality onto ill-prepared urban spaces, they highlight the unequal burden this places on the urban poor and their ways of living, moving and working in the cities.  Instead, the authors stress the need for creative, inclusive policies that can provide sustainable solutions for modern cities.

This exciting and critically important volume will interest urban and environmental planners, policy-makers, civil society organisations and urban management professionals. Students and scholars of urban studies and urban sociology will also find these perspectives engaging.

Rajesh Bhattacharya is Associate Professor in the Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India. His research areas include informal economy, urban political economy, social sector policies, planning and Indian economic development and Indian perspectives in social sciences. He has taught at South Asian University, New Delhi, University of Kolkata and Presidency University, Kolkata. He has several publications in refereed journals and in edited books.

Annapurna Shaw is Former Professor in the Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India. An urban geographer by training, her research interests lie in the areas of urban policy and planning, sustainable cities, the informal sector and economic development. She has taught at the University of Kentucky, Arizona State University, Aarhus Business School, Denmark and the University of Copenhagen and been the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Fellowship. She has many refereed journal publications and has served on the editorial board of the journal Urban Geography (Taylor and Francis) from 2002 to 2008. Her publications include the books: The Making of Navi Mumbai (Orient Longman, 2004), Indian Cities in Transition (ed., Orient Longman, 2007).

List of Tables, Figures and Images


Part 1: Changing Contexts and the Role of the State in Housing Provision

I. Housing Policies in Recent Brazil
II. Towards a More Humane Urbanism: Low-Income Housing in Urban India
III. The Kruschyovka Kalashnikov
IV. (De) Embracing ‘Enabling’ Housing Strategies? Evidence from Southern Countries

Part 2: Redevelopment of Slums
V. Brazilian Favelas: Two Decades of Public Policies
VI. Settlement in a ‘Smartening City’  
VII. Urban-Poor Housing Development in Asia: From Target Group to Negotiating Partner

Part 3: Informal Housing and Right to the City
VIII. The Politics of Poverty and Property in Indian Metros: The Case of Kathputli Colony in New Delhi
IX. Approaches to Informal Settlements and Livelihood-building Processes in Durban
X. For a Pedagogy of Co-existence in the Polis

Part 4: Environmental  Re(Configurations) of Urban Infrastructure, Housing and Livelihoods
XI. The BRICS New Development Bank’s False Dawn: Unsustainable Urban Infrastructure Finance in South Africa
XII. Location, Livelihoods and Environment in Contemporary Delhi
XIII. The Role of Small Towns in Mediating Rapid Urbanisation: Insights from Northeast China
XIV. Class and Tenancy Relations in Calcutta, 1914–1926

Notes on Contributors

1. Review | Published in The Caravan, New Delhi, May 2022.
2. Urban Housing, Livelihoods and Environmental Challenges in Emerging Economies | The Hindu, Chennai, 13 March 2022.
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