Gentrification in the Textile Mill Areas of Mumbai: Changing Spatial Relations and the Role of State

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Dwiparna CHATTERJEE, IIT Bombay, India
 This paper attempts to portray the transforming textile mill land areas of Mumbai, its changing spatial relations from the past and the negotiation with the State in the post industrial city. The process of deindustrialisation followed by the prolonged textile mill strike that lasted for two years (1982-83) led to an eventual but gradual closure of the textile mills. This culminated into city space transformation where redevelopment regeneration of the built environment and city branding process became the main mantra. The emergence of the new landscape with service sectors firms, IT industries, creative sectors, cheek by jowl shopping malls, high- end restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, fashion houses and gated communities juxtaposed with long rows of chawls (houses for the working class) in the old neighbourhood of working class community led to an exorbitant land values and reproduced itself as a landscape of contrast, contestation and rising aspirations. The mill lands in the central part of the city turned into a gold mine for the real estate developers and also a space of negotiation for the ex mill workers and state.The arrival of the upwardly mobile middle class and the effect of bourgeoisie culture deeply disturb the older urban rhythms related to space, place, work and life in these localities and also changes their everyday life practices. The lack of employment, the ghettoisation of working class chawls surrounded by gated communities and low affordability, displaced many workers to far off places. Those who sustained to stay here became informal workers. This creates not only a sense of discontent but ignites a process of negotiation and bargaining with the state. This ethnographic paper through observations and semistructured interviews take into account of the transformation, role of state and its policy formations and the process of practice, negotiation attached to it.