A Perspective on Urban Transformation, from the Ruins of a Community Toilet

Through a careful documentation of an ongoing struggle for sanitation infrastructure in a neighbourhood facing intense gentrifying pressure—namely, Mohammed Nagar slum in Hyderabad—this paper shows how incomplete and fluid infrastructures can become sites through which an excess population can be purged outright in order to rebuild neighbourhood character. Mohammed Nagar slum is located in the Bholakpur ward of Hyderabad. Bholakpur has been a major site for informal waste segregation, recycling and processing in the city and region for the past three decades at least. As different constituents of the fragmented community consolidate their claims through opportunities thrown up by crumbling infrastructures, some resist metabolic processes that attempt to reproduce direly needed infrastructures. Others, facing acute deprivation, have to choose between staying put and moving out. Gentrification processes arising from new rent gaps emerging in cities due to high-end infrastructures, such as metro rail and shopping complexes, can be brutal and can trigger mechanisms by which bodies are revalued as legitimate claimants or otherwise. Populations that were once all associated with waste reinvent themselves, including some who can make it, and purging others who decidedly cannot make it into the new neighbourhood.

You can read and download the paper by clicking here: Rent gap, fluid infrastructure and population excess in a gentrifying neighbourhood.

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