Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2014

The Shadow of Urbanization: The Periurban Interface of Five Indian Cities in Transition

Vishal Narain, Poulomi Banerjee, Pooja Anand

January 2014

East-West Center


Periurban areas refer to areas at the periphery of cities. They provide the land and water resources needed for urban expansion, while receiving urban wastes. This paper describes the process of periurban expansion around five major Indian cities, namely, Patna, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Chennai and Ahmedabad. These cities have expanded under the current regime of neo-liberal policies, infrastructure development and real estate growth. As spaces in transition, periurban areas around these cities have absorbed much of the migrant population. However, the cities have grown beyond the carrying capacity; this has caused the ecological foot-print of the cities to spill over into the peripheries. While conventional approaches to urban planning and rural development create a dichotomy between rural and urban areas, the concept of periurban raises questions both about the sustainability and equity dimensions of urban expansion, also raising issues of the politics of urbanization.