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Informal settlements, the emerging response to COVID and the imperative of transforming the narrative

Amita Bhide ()
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Amita Bhide: School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Journal of Social and Economic Development, 2021, vol. 23, issue 2, No 4, 280-289

Abstract: Abstract The COVID pandemic has exposed several faultlines of urbanism in India. This paper is a narrative of the remarkable continuities between the past legacies of governance of informal settlements, pandemic response and emerging ideas of alternate urbanisms and their inability to address issues of inequity, exclusion and vulnerability. The pandemic and the resultant situation exposes the limits of the current policies, programming linked to informal settlements, their imagination of informality and outlines the urgent need to escape the trap of bracketing of informal settlements as an ‘issue’ within itself delinked from the dynamic and ever-changing processes of urbanization through community led policy responses and effective local governance. In the absence of effective state response, informal settlements authored their own script of coping with the challenges thrown by the pandemic; their presence, participation and centrality in scripting future policies is a much-needed transformation of the narrative.

Keywords: Informal settlements; Indian cities; Pandemic governance; Politics of informality; Transformation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s40847-020-00119-9

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