Navi Mumbai


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.

Image courtesy Ayona Datta
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