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Cities for ProfitThe Real Estate Turn in Asia's Urban Politics$
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Gavin Shatkin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501709906

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501709906.001.0001

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Experiments in Power

Experiments in Power

Urban Politics in Postliberalization Kolkata

(p.137) 4 Experiments in Power
Cities for Profit

Gavin Shatkin

Cornell University Press

India’s postliberalization urban politics is captured well by Solomon Benjamin’s concept of ‘occupancy urbanism’, a dynamic in which varied groups deploy their power of the vote and other forms of social power to solidify claims to urban space in contravention of state planning and corporate interest. This dynamic helps to explain why few large scale planned urban developments have come to fruition, despite ambitious plans. This chapter examines the very mixed record of urban real estate megaproject development in Kolkata, paying particular attention to the strategies that the Government of West Bengal has deployed to gain control of land and push through large developments in the face of grassroots political opposition. It documents a case study of Calcutta Riverside, a project that has made some progress due in large part to the developer’s effort to allay concerns of local communities by integrating social and ecological concerns into the design of the project.

Keywords:   Kolkata, Occupancy urbanism, Land reform, Liberalizaton

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