There are plethora of issues faced by the cities due to rapid urbanization in India. The process of urbanization itself is peculiar to developing nations –the focus is on the economic growth of the nation, the role of cities then become central to it. The shift in the structure of the city as a result of planning and policy is apparent both economically and morphologically. There is always polarization occurring at a socio-economic and socio-cultural level between communities, and claiming and territorializing urban space is a process that is evident in all Indian cities. Muslims in Indian cities are undergoing a phenomenon by which they’re being segregated implicitly into distinct quarters and locations that are disconnected from the larger city functionally and socially. Such segregation added with lack of infrastructure, civic neglect by the state, increasingly attached negativity to the identity of Muslims is creating an alternative urbanism subject to a singular community that are getting marginalized socially, economically, politically and importantly spatially. This thesis focuses on the spatiality of the issue and how through the applied urban design can such segregation be negotiated.
the merging of different communities in the city without physical, social or economic boundaries as active participants of the city life and in access to public resources mainly commerce, institution, and natural
The phenomenon of segregation has existed ever since mankind began the concept of concentrated living in a society, and composing themselves into distinct quarters. The organization of these quarters is then based upon the hierarchical structure which was also the ways in which traditional settlements have evolved. The administrative center represented the seat of power, the religious center along which life revolved, the market place where all trade and commercial activities took place and finally the residential quarters, of those who have the most power remain close to these centers (core) and the farthest forms the territories of the poor and marginalized (periphery) with least access to any of the centers of activity. This pattern of organization has existed across all traditional cities, colonial cities which distinctly segregated the natives from their colonial rulers and even the postcolonial and emergent cities which are exhibiting new pattern of such divisions. Segregation is inherent to man’s nature and how we organize ourselves and the others in cities. Sometimes the rationale behind is either the political, social or economic systems, but they’re not independent of each other. To extrapolate, the Master plan which functionally divides land zones is an extension of this age-old hegemonic pattern implicit to planning.
Urban segregation in Indian cities manifest in different ways. The dividing lines are based on religion, caste, occupation, regional language and culture, status etc. Segregation in urban context is about separation – a separation of people or separation of activities and functions. Segregation of communities that is voluntarily observed helps preserve and inheritance of culture, history, institutions, and language etc., and have positive impacts, also called as congregation of communities. Segregation is the process by which a population group is forced, i.e. involuntarily, to cluster in a defined spatial area, in a ghetto. It is the process of formation and maintenance of a ghetto.1 Muslims dominated areas across Indian cities and small towns which were integrated are becoming increasingly ethnic quarters. With each event of a communal violence Muslims, Hindus, and other group of minorities who reside in mixed neighborhoods chose to move to out of localities that have a predominant population of the other group. The clustering of neighborhoods, attached with sentiments of hatred and violence, continuous neglect by state, lack of infrastructure and civic amenities will escalate the scale of segregation and the stigma attached with any community. If we are to take the idea of cities as places where everyone has equal right and equal opportunities, then the segregation that is caused as an implied or unintended consequence is questionable. In such instances, arises the question that in what ways a city can offer to people in terms of opportunities and access to improve the general standard of life. Though segregation occurs due to various social, political and economic factors, it creates a hierarchical spatial structure increasing physical distances between people in cities. On the contrary, it is the coming together, in various public spheres, of various people where social interactions or business endeavors take place. All spaces in cities are a product of their socio cultural and socio economic activities- the built environment, links and interactions that enable such functions, activities and use create the public realm integral to an urban system that can reverse the process of segregation. A city is a physical, functional and social organization – the physical sub-system forming the buildings, streets, infrastructure and the human sub-system of movement, interaction and activity.2 Segregation has then, both spatial and social meaning. Spatial difference between residences of different people in city equals social segregation that has negative perception of ethnic concentration.
Zakir Nagar is a locality in one of the five Muslim concentrated areas in the south-west of Delhi. Originally home to few teachers and clerical staff of the Jamia Milia University it lay on the fringe of the river Yamuna. Jogabai and Okhla were the two urban villages; Gafoor Nagar and Batla House were small dense clusters of houses of which Zakir Nagar is an extension. Post communal riots of 1990 and Gujarat pogrom of 2002 people from surrounding mixed neighborhoods relocated and migrants from north India surged. The area expanded rapidly, forest tracts disappeared and new colonies came up. The socio economic status of the residents became more diverse. Many aspirant people could not move to other neighborhoods for the fear of violence and denied of housing in other areas of city remain concentrated in these locations.
Segregation increases polarization between people, increases the vulnerability of a group of people. Spatial concentrations reduce mobility and networking that are essential to participating in city life that is based on sharing of public resources. Urban form plays an important role in reversing the process of segregation by making accessibility to common resources through public spaces. The morphology of the place is reflected through neighborhoods, buildings and urban public spaces and the way people connect through them enabling interaction. The ever increasing scale of the cities gives people more choice to locate farther, resulting in fragmented cities. Unlike socio-economic and socio-cultural divide in cities, ethnic segregation happens at a finer scale in our context. Residential and social segregation happens at a micro scale, neighborhood level and dispersion is seen at an urban level. Location is another important aspect of segregation – communities that are in the process of getting marginalized invariably are located on the periphery, edge or disadvantaged locations. Self-segregated communities are more at an advantage; they tend to be located by economically active, connected by well integrated street, provided with adequate infrastructure. This too represents a hierarchy of power between the different groups in cities. Many forms of buffers are created that creates a discontinuous urban texture in such places. These buffers restrict growth horizontally, reduces free movement and accessibility, increasing density and reduced options for housing creates stress on existing infrastructure can seriously degrade the standard of living and hence, the imageability of place. Co-operative group housing, gated communities, residential enclaves facilitate housing to exclusive group of people. Gates are more symbolic of status to these places. Segregation is embedded in some urban layouts that create spatial conditions that restrict the movement of people through them. The focus on physical environment, accessibility through public spaces of resources and presence in public realm that can be achieved help reverse the process of segregation.
- Enclaves Yes, Ghettoes, No: Segregation and the State, Peter Marcuse, 2001, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Conference Paper
- The City as a socio-technical system: a spatial reformulation in the light of the levels problem and the parallel problem,Hiller 2009.
• Susan S. Fainstein, Scott Campbell (Editors),2011: Readings in Urban Theory, 3rd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell. • Ronan Paddison, 2001: Handbook of Urban Studies, Sage Publications Lts. • Ali Madanipour, 1996: Design of Urban Space: an Inquiry into a socio-spatial process: John Wiley & Sons • Carl H. Nightingale, : Segregation, A Global History of Divided cities • Peter Saunders, 1989: Social Theory and the Urban Question • Laurent Gayer & Christopher Jaffrelot, 2012 : Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalization, HarperCollins • Jane Jacobs, 1966: Death and Life of Great American Cities
Articles, Essays, Journals|
• Socio-spatial differentiation and residential segregation in Delhi: a question of scale? Veronique Dupont, Geoforum 35 (2004) 157-175 • The Capitalistic Logic of Spatial Segregation: A study of Muslims in Delhi, Ghazala Jamil, Economic and Political Weekly ,Vol. 49, No. 3 (Jan. 2014), pp. 52-58 • Enclaves Yes, Ghettoes, No: Segregation and the State, Peter Marcuse, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Conference Paper • Ethnic Segregation in Cities: New Forms and Explanations in a Dynamic World, Ronald van Kempen and A. Sule Ozuekren, Urban Studies, Vol. 35, No. 10, 1631-1656, 1998 • What’s So New about Divided Cities? Peter Marcuse, Joint Editors and Basil Blackwell Ltd 1993. Published by Blackwell Publishers • Spaces of Discrimination, Residential Segregation in Indian Cities, Trina Vithayathil, Gayatri Singh, Economic and Political Weekly ,Vol. 47, No. 37 (Sep. 15, 2014), pp. 60-67 • Countering Urban Segregation: Theoretical and Policy Innovations from around the Globe Peer Smets and Ton Salman, 2008 Urban Studies Journal Limited, 45(7) 1307–1332, June 2008 • Eurocities : Cities Action Against Social Exclusion (Case),Final Report, Ali Madanipour, January 2003 • Beirut Divided: The potential of urban design in reuniting a culturally divided city, Benjamin J Leclair-Paquet, June 2012, DPU Working Paper No. 153, UCL