This volume studies the urbanisation trends of medium-sized cities of India to develop a typology of urban resilience. It looks at historic second-tier cities like Nashik, Bhopal, Kolkata and Agra, which are laboratories of smart experiments and are subject to technological ubiquity, with rampant deployment of smart technologies and dashboard governance.
The book examines the traditional values and systems of these cities that have proven to be resilient and studies how they can be adapted to contemporary times. It also highlights the vulnerabilities posed by current urban development models in these cities and presents best practices that could provide leads to address impending climate risks. The book also offers a unique Resilience Index that can drive change in the way cities are imagined and administered, customised to specific needs at various scales of application.
Part of the Urban Futures series, the volume is an important contribution to the growing scholarship of southern urbanism and will be of interest to researchers and students of urban studies, urban ecology, urban sociology, architecture, geography, urban design, anthropology, cultural studies, environment, sustainability, urban planning and climate change.
Table of Contents
Binti Singh and Manoj Parmar
2. Medium Historic Towns: The Emerging Urban Reality in India
Manoj Parmar and Binti Singh
3. Cultural Resilience of Historic Urban Cores
4. Urban Water Resilience
5. Southern Socioecological Resilience: Theorising a New ‘Normal’
Sandeep Balagangadharan Menon
Binti Singh and Manoj Parmar
Binti Singh is an urban sociologist. She holds a PhD in urban studies and an MPhil in Planning and Development from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India. She is Associate Professor and Dean (Research and Academic Development) at KRVIA, Mumbai, and is engaged in diverse international research programmes. She is also Book Series Editor of the series Urban Futures and Associate Editor of Oxford Urbanists. She has contributed to several peer-reviewed research journals and edited books.
Manoj Parmar is currently Director, KRVIA, Mumbai. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the L.S.R. School of Architecture, India. He also holds a M. Arch from the University of Miami, Florida, USA. He has been teaching at KRVIA, Mumbai, since 1992. His academic interests include theoretical writing on architecture and urbanism.
"Dr Singh's and Prof Parmar's new book on Resilience and Southern Urbanism is extremely relevant in today's times and has brought together city specific research anchored to the rapidly urbanizing medium historic cities of India. This book certainly contributes to the growing scholarship on urban studies that are anchored in the Global South and attendant growing urbanisms discourses. The authors have created a very useful guide for urban scholars and stakeholders on the ground working for creating better urban futures. This interesting volume seeks to serve as a starting point for a new epistemological orientation on urban resilience, new debates and responses."
Dr Tigran Haas, Professor, Director of the Centre for Future of Places, KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm; Editor of In the Post-Urban World, 2018
"Congratulations on your book project, Resilience and Southern Urbanism: Towards a New Paradigm. This book addresses an important gap in the resilience literature as it pertains to the global South, and its important lessons for urbanism around the world. It presents significant research on the rapidly urbanizing historic cities of India, and the impacts, opportunities and dangers of this urbanisation. As such, it makes a contribution to the growing scholarship on urban studies that are anchored in the global South. I believe it will be a very useful guide for scholars and stakeholders working to develop better urban futures."
Michael W. Mehaffy, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Centre for the Future of Places, KTH University, Stockholm
"Historic cities of India have survived earthquakes, floods, draught, wars and pandemics carrying significant wisdoms on how to meet planetary shocks. Tapping traditional experience to be merged with global postmodern technologies would contribute to new thinking and practice on resilient urban transformation. This is the book’s main achievement. It adds to a growing scholarship anchored in the South with wider global relevance. It is recommended as a guide for scholars and stakeholders working for better urban futures."
Erik Berg, BA, MA, Msc (t), Chairman, Habitat Norway
"Far from homogeneous rapid growth in Indian cities manifest in a wide array of challenges that range from deteriorating urban cores to contradicting realities in historic towns and infrastructure challenges. In response, this book offers a series of vital discussions, characterised by a new independent openness, on the contemporary condition of urbanism in India as a critical case that resonates with rapidly growing urban contexts in south Asia and the wider global south. Through the exploitation of various perspectives and substantial theoretical underpinnings, Binti Singh and Manoj Parmar instigate an important discourse on urban resilience and draw our attention to the complexity of the urban condition in Indian cities, their challenges, and set the stage for capturing the opportunities these challenges create. This is a serious and important contribution to the global debate on urban resilience in rapidly growing contexts and is a must read by academics, decision makers, and future planning professionals."
Ashraf M. Salama, Professor of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom
"Resilience and Southern Urbanism: Towards a New Paradigm by Dr. Binti Singh and Prof. Manoj Parmar promises to be an important and extremely timely contribution to the discussion on urban resilience in the Global South.
The Editors correctly highlight the urgent need for a new understanding of this complex concept in contexts other than the Northern cities; they build on their extensive research and understanding of recent advancements on the subject and, through a detailed knowledge of the Indian context, offer localised interpretations of how cultural, environmental, human and economic characters might help develop more contextually significant interpretations of resilience. The Introduction sets the scene and justification for this transition, identifying significant and unique challenges to a context like no other. The fact that Indian cities are a kaleidoscope of conditions is central in the book, and fundamental to the discussion, as the authors suggest that no generalised view on resilience (a ‘singular knowledge system’) could be meaningfully applied. Rather, they suggest that the paradigm of ‘uncertainty’ is more useful. From here, the Editors identify typologies of resilience to which they dedicate extensive discussion.
The appeal of the book lies in a good balance between a strong and important idea, and a set of very detailed examples on how it can be studied and interpreted. It would be impossible to cover India’s cities in one publication. This book promises a strong interpretative framework, and a few examples on how to use it in detail. The rest is up to the readers and those involved with the city, in India or anywhere else in the "Global" South. This book will be an important contribution to the key discussion on the future of our cities."
Dr Ombretta Romice, University of Strathclyde, Department of Architecture, Glasgow, UK
"The shift from a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban society continues to unfold
unabated. While cities have proven their worth as key arenas for social and economic development, such outcomes are never a certainty. With urbanization and the rise of cities occurring at breakneck speeds in many countries throughout the global south, significant effort is required to ensure that they scale accordingly. This means that they will require investment in the necessary housing, infrastructure, amenities and basic services to keep pace with their growing populations. Efforts that fall short of this will result in over congested and overwhelmed cities. This makes rapid urbanization and the unprecedented rise of cities one of the most important megatrends of our time. While there is still a lot that remains unknown about the causes, dimensions and challenges of urbanization in the 21 st century, this thought-provoking book examines rapidly urbanizing medium-sized historic cities in India to identify lessons from the past that can inform the cities of the future. The authors do so through the lenses of heritage and resilience. Despite these cities undergoing incredible transformations and changes, many of the traditional urban systems continue to remain intact, doing their part to alleviate the pressures of rapid urban growth. Not only does culture heritage build identity into the fabric of cities, but the authors demonstrate that it also plays a pivotal role in performing important urban services. For example, this book explores historical water systems, examining the role they played in creating a functioning urban environment and from a resilience standpoint how they have withstood the test of time. In doing so, important lessons can be learned for managing the challenges of the future (ie. climate change). The book concludes with some suggestions on how local communities can be engaged in the planning process to build more resilient cities. In doing so, this book contributes to the growing scholarship in urban studies focused on the global south and their attendant urbanisms. This book serves as a useful guide for scholars and stakeholders working to better understand the challenges that rapidly growing cities are facing and what can be done to better position these cities for the future. Those who read it will emerge with a renewed understanding of India’s history and the important role it will play in shaping its future. From history, to policy to innovative solutions for building more liveable cities, this book has it all."
Dr Kyle Farrell, Urban Economist, Economic Pulse Analytics
"This edited collection stands on the shoulders of scholars before who’ve called for a Southern urban theory, and makes an attempt to articulate the resilience discourse in Indian cities. This is a timely contribution considering that the current discourse on resilience heavily draws from the experience of the cities of the North, assuming a singular authoritative knowledge system. Situating resilience, makes special sense during the COVID and post-COVID times of uncertainty when densely populated and resource poor cities of the global South struggle for their livelihoods. I, personally, find it intriguing that Singh and Parmar (the editors) arrive at a typology of resilience centered around culture. This calls for further investigation of resilience stories and struggles in the Southern cities, with special attention to cultural practices."
Dr Tooran Alizadeh, Associate Professor of Urbanism, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
"In Resilience and Southern Urbanism, Dr. Binti Singh, Prof. Manoj Parmar, and their respective collaborators show us that we can no longer glibly discuss the trials and tribulations of evolving cities without reference to the Global South and the scholarship of the world’s second-most-populous nation. Their rich melding of cultural, environmental, economic, and human-scale factors is this interdisciplinary paradigm we need, honouring important issues of the day without resorting to trendy sameness. The resilience theme is equally compelling in these times, but most important is this book’s stage: a subcontinent where the authors’ granular and critical examination provides an approach deserving of respect around the world."
Charles R. Wolfe, Founder and Principal, Seeing Better Cities Group, Newbury, UK; Afilliate Guest Scholar, Centre for the Future of Places, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Affiliate Associate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle; Author, Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character (2021), Seeing the Better City (2017), and Urbanism Without Effort (2013, rev. ed. 2019)