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Peri-urban dynamics: case studies in Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai

The concentration of population towards metropolitan centres and its diffusion to their peripheries has resulted in complex problems such as land scarcity, inward and outward mobility of labour, economic, social and spatial segregation of population between the core and periphery. Peripheral development is a recent phenomenon in India and is not well researched. The papers in this document contribute to this less researched area by presenting the case studies based on the experience of the Indian cities of Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

The paper on Chennai compares the changes that have occurred over a period of time in terms of socio-spatial transformations in two peri-urban neighbourhoods. The author shows that global capitalism in association with local authorities has dictated the changes in these two neighbourhoods that are characterized by the post-modern features of pluralism, segmentation and multiplicity.

The author also argues that the spatial and social changes have made the peri-urban areas ‘pawns’, in the hands of the predatory metropolitan planning authorities who like to gamble this space for real estate ventures in partnership with privatized and globalized agents/actors leaving behind the lower middle class and also the Panchayat unions as silent spectators for this new form of invasion.

The paper on Hyderabad deals with the city’s outgrowth that has been triggered by the growth of information technology and the population flows between the core and the periphery of Hyderabad. It explores and analyses population mobility as a key indicator of the level of integration of an IT cluster within its city. Although the level of urbanity has not been assessed, the authors observe that the new HITEC City project shows signs of integration within the city.

The authors of Mumbai’s case adopt a different perspective of the urban edge by conceptualizing it in the form of ecological footprints and by showing how the city invades and expands over natural landscapes on the western coast. The paper shows how the pressure of urbanisation for this outwardly growth of the city is encroaching upon the natural landscape.

In conclusion, the papers capture varying conditions of development of the periphery, and how these affect the urban core and periphery’s spatial, economic and other linkages. Though there is a view that the urban periphery of the metropolitan agglomerations are degenerating, the case studies in this volume prove that not all the peripheries are the same.