The aesthetics of `the ground up' city: : Some insights from Bangalore
Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Seminar, Malvika Singh, Volume 612, p.33–38 (2010)
THIS article argues that city aesthetics cannot just be thought of as an artistic creation of ?the beautiful city? (for the beautiful people), but rather imagined as significant political aspects in the way the term aesthetics is mobilized. The relationship between aesthetics and politics is complex, hardly linear, involves city development processes that operate at several levels and, most important, a multitude of actors. I look at this issue in the context of Bangalore. Like other Indian and ?Southern? cities, Bangalore too has its fair share of globalized infrastructure: ?gated? housing, office complexes clad in glass and granite, and large infrastructure projects of expressways, metro rails, and an international airport. Since 1998, an IT dominated ?civil society? has been particularly vocal in visioning the city?s corporate led future along this path. Such visibility serves as an example for others in India to look towards, as an illustration of corporate led urban governance. But this narrative of ?good governance? oriented urban reforms also homogenizes the rest of the city into a non-planned ?slum?, with the exception of some select parts of the central market areas that are now to be sanitized as ?heritage precincts?. In this meta-narrative those who are not part of the IT world, in particular the poorer groups, remain marginalized, unruly, illiterate, and victims of a clientelistic and corrupt politics.
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