Re/Claiming the City - Questioning and Re-Imagining Public Spaces. Experiences from Three Cities in India.
Representations of space as conceived by planners, policy makers as expressed through maps, signs, budgets (Lefebvre work on ‘Production of space’) determine the production of social relations and thus occupy a central position to be critically reflected upon. Current research asks how we go beyond the process of gendering spaces. The paper weaves through interesting recent movements by activist groups like ‘Right to loiter, Right to public display of affection, Kiss of love movement against moral policing in public’ to explore alternative visions of the city.It draws on the lived experiences and narratives of women which expose multiple layers of complexities; as well as survey data/ NGO reports from three cities in India- Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata. Practical examples are drawn from newspaper reports to critically look at solutions given by urban planners. The paper argues that increasing visibility of women and transgender community in public spaces could be an alternative to re/claim public spaces by challenging the dominant imagination of the city. This could be a way to mainstream gender and have a fare-shared city.