Navi Mumbai Workshop


Indian cities are at the centre of intense debates and discussions on the pathways of trajectories of urbanisation. Competing utopian visions clash with each other to exert their influence on how to imagine, shape and therefore develop cities. Often, these imaginations or visions of a utopian city are top down and exclude many groups of actually existing citizen groups. But we argue, grassroots imaginations and articulations continually rework, reshape and reassemble utopian visions of the city which are conceived in a top down, rational manner. However, many such voices of citizens are deliberately excluded, ridiculed, bypassed, ignored or even silenced in the plan making, planning and governing of cities and yet, they provide rich, diverse, alternative imaginations of our cities.

This workshop explores the contesting imaginations of urban utopias – past and present, top down and bottom up, that speak to how the city of Navi Mumbai should be developed, how land and resources should be distributed and how questions of justice, equity, rights are to be engaged with and addressed through democratic and participatory processes. How are these utopias shaped by the history of urbanisation, the socio-political dynamics and local relations? How does one empower, strengthen, embolden these alternative utopias? What spaces will promote, contribute to and help to grow these ideas of a different kind of city in the face of an increasing emphasis on smart urbanism as the and only pathway to urbanisation? What are the challenges and opportunities that come into play when multiple trajectories of urbanisation are opened up?

Through the two days of workshop, we hope to bring together scholars, urban activists, practitioners, citizens, politicians, bureaucrats and others to debate and discuss the urbanisation trajectories (past, present and future) of Navi Mumbai in particular by drawing from narratives, reports, experiences, projects and proposalsThe idea is to start of conversations, spark dialogues and produce a network to exchange relevant knowledge.

This workshop is part of a larger series of workshops, “Learning from Utopian Cities: A UK-India collaboration” led by Dr. Ayona Datta at University of Leeds.  The project involves workshops in four cities – Chandigarh, Varanasi, Navi Mumbai and Nashik and a final conference in Leeds. The aim is to bring together a range of stakeholders involved in the transformation of these cities into smart cities and excavate alternative utopias through participatory workshops. Workshops in India are funded by Indian Council of Historical Research and led by Dr Anu Sabhlok at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali. Local organisation and support of Navi Mumbai workshop is by Dr. Ratoola Kundu  from School of Habitat Studies at TISS Mumbai.


Session topic Timing Speaker
DAY 1: 27 MAY 2016
 Opening Session

This session is an introduction to the larger project and to the particular workshop

10:00 to 10:45 followed by 15 min break Dr. Ayona Datta, Associate Professor, University of Leeds

Ratoola Kundu, Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, TISS, Mumbai

Session 2: Trajectories of Urbanisation

Brief Description: This session will lay out the contours of making Navi Mumbai, and locate it within the larger political economy of urbanisation, examine the idea of utopias and new towns more critically.


11:00 to 1:00

Annapurna Shaw, Professor, Public Policy, IIM Calcutta

Amita Bhide, Professor and Dean School of Habitat Studies, TISS

V Venugopal, Additional Chief Planner, CIDCO

LUNCH      1:00 to 2:00
Session 3: The question of land and the role it plays in the urbanisation process

Brief Description: This session shall explore the contestations around land, the claims made by different grassroots groups, and how land is an important factor in shaping urban utopias as well as how its value, use, exchange and transformation is shaped in turn by urban utopias.

2:00 to 4:00 Ranu Shah, Khalapur Smart Cities Collective

Anil Sule, Khalapur Nagar Nigam and Khalapur community representatives

Aparna Phadke, Professor, Mumbai University

Session 4: Open Discussion and Networking Opportunities 4:00 to 5:00


DAY 2: 28 MAY 2016
Session 1: Future urban trajectories
Brief description: In the recent past, cities are being driven to become smart cities. However there is much ambiguity about what a smart city is and what the smart city mission hopes to achieve. This session explores the idea of smart cities as one mode of imagining urban futures.

9 :00 to 11:00

P. Suresh Babu, Coordinator, Smart City Lab (CIDCO)

Kedar Ghorpade, Private consultant and Planner

Himanshu Burte, Assistant Professor, Centre for Urban Policy and Governance, TISS, Mumbai

Netra Shirke, Corporator, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC)

Session 2: Governance of new urban entities

Brief description: Metropolitanisation and regional development – exploring the complexities of governing urban areas, especially peripheral areas, with an intermix of urban and rural areas, planned and unplanned areas, what are the challenges to democratic processes of governance and planning especially in the context of smart cities?


11: 00 to 1:00

Sulakshana Mahajan, Consultant – Urban Planning, Mumbai Transformation Support Unit

Mathew Idiculla, Research Associate, School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

Dr. Priyadarshani Karve, CEO, Samuchit Enviro Tech

Neela Limaye, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee

LUNCH      1:00 to 2:00
Session 3: Housing and Infrastructure issues in Navi Mumbai

Brief description: This session will seek to understand some of the key issues in the planned city of Navi Mumbai and how these are begin addressed by the state and non-state actors and in what ways this existing materiality will shape the utopias?


2:00 to 3:30


Ratna Mane, State Associate Campaigner, YUVA

Lakshman Dethe, Naka Kaamgaar

Mr. Lele, Chief Town Planner, CIDCO

Session 4: Voices from the ground

Brief description: This session brings together voices from the ground who remain marginalised and excluded from planning decisions and governance frameworks and yet contribute immensely to the city building processes. It will explore their urban aspirations, their imaginations of an alternative urban utopia.


3:30 to 5:30


Mr. P. Mhatre

Sujith Patwardhan, Parisar, Pune

Community Representatives from the “Ghar Hakk Sangharsh Samiti” campaign



Concluding Session:

What is the Utopian city? How do we strengthen multiple trajectories of urbanisation?


5:30 to 6:30


Dr. Anu Sabhlok, Assistant Professor, Social Science, Indian Institution of Science, Education and Research, Mohali


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ayona Datta says:

    Reblogged this on the city inside out and commented:

    Forthcoming workshop on Navi Mumbai’s smart city visions – top-down and bottom up.


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