By Gautam Bhan on May 20th 2020
This paper is a response to and a commentary on Vanessa Watson’s paper on “African urban fantasies” in this issue of the Journal, which analyzes new urban master plans developed by international architectural firms and property development companies for many cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Taking Watson’s argument as an opportunity to think about current urban fantasies in Indian cities, this response offers three reflections.
In this paper, the authors lay down what they understand as “affordable housing”— a term that can mean many things to many people— and present a set of empirics to locate their understanding of affordability. Following that, they sets out ten dynamics that are often seen to be at the root of why extreme housing inequalities persist in Indian cities. For each, they outline existing debates, suggest policy responses and interventions
and, at times, mark the medium- and long-term structural changes required. Finally, they summarize by a necessary partial translation into action and locate their suggested interventions with particular institutions and different scales of government.