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Praditi singh, surabhi dahivalkar, and eryn halvey

Power, Politics, And Contestation In Dharavi Slums, Mumbai: A Counter-Map

Dharavi, at the heart of Mumbai, India, is at the frontline of oppositional practices confronting neoliberal, futuristic mega-projects focused on capital accumulation, elite consumption, slum clearance, and deregulated real estate speculation. With accelerating urbanization around the world, cities are witnessing unprecedented demographic and geographical growth. An outcome of unprecedented pressure and advancement is a vision of a global city, thrust upon the urban development, architectural character, and identity of cities. Urban centers thus remain no more a static entity but a ground for power struggle for coexistence and legitimization of collective identity by multiple stakeholders. Common property is acknowledged as a commodity of multiple claims and contestation by its residents against hegemonic power. Dharavi’s development, or rather un-development, reflects a larger play of governmental authority and convergence of rules and policies, which frequently mask the existence of any informal quarters. Do the law and the city work in tandem to protect the city’s most vulnerable residents? An in-depth inquiry is conducted along with an analysis of the informal-urban, projecting spatio-political defenses, offenses, and alliances that define the future of these contested slum-landscapes throughout Mumbai. A contestation of over-debates, worn out bidding processes, compromised on-ground representation, and overworked proposals. Using a counter map, we identify potential datasets and map the scales and scalability of various neo-liberal redevelopment processes initiated by political will and their outcomes.