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Tag Archives: urbanism

Do Buildings Have Agency?


This book review appeared in slightly edited form as “Do Buildings Have Agency?” in Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), Vol XLVI No.30, 23 July 2011 Neera Adarkar, ed., The Chawls of Mumbai: Galleries of Life (Gurgaon: imprintOne, 2011) Can built forms have their own subjectivity? Architects, geographers and urban planners would surely answer this question [...]

Skyscrapers and Sweatshops


A shorter version of this essay was published in Mint Lounge on 28 May 2011. Edward Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier (New York: Penguin Press, 2011) The past two decades have seen large cities in North America and Europe decisively rebound from a [...]

Obdurate Urbanism


Anique Hommels, Unbuilding Cities: Obduracy in Urban Socio-Technical Change. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2005. While sharing a common intellectual genealogy, the contemporary disciplines of science and technology studies (STS) and urban studies have followed divergent paths of development, and flourished in largely separated academic compartments. Anique Hommels’s Unbuilding the City argues for the complementarity of [...]

The Urban Age


In the academic world in which I work, proximity to the rich and powerful is at best a matter of expediency, and at worst elicits the charge of complicity. What I appreciate about architects and designers is the irreftutably practical nature of their world, in which structures of power and the market shape the context [...]

The City as Extracurricular Space


Download “The City as Extracurricular Space: Re-Instituting Urban Pedagogy in South Asia” This journal article, ‘The City as Extracurricular Space: Re-Instituting Urban Pedagogy in South Asia’ (co-authored with Anirudh Paul and Prasad Shetty) was published in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, London), Vol.6, No.3, 2005, in a special issue on South Asia edited [...]

Mill’s as Public Spaces: Mumbai’s Industrial Heritage


In Mumbai, public awareness of urban arts and heritage has experienced a significant revival in the past ten years — in the same historical moment when manufacturing industries have closed and factories emptied throughout Greater Mumbai. Heritage discourse and conservation practice have only implicitly acknowledged this economic context. Since the Bombay Textile Strike of 1982–3, entire [...]