Description India is undergoing a period of extraordinary urban transformation. For the first time in modern Indian history, the rate of urban growth is higher than that of the rural. Material transformations -- freeways and tollways, malls and gated communities, changing work patterns and new forms of consumerism -- are, however, also accompanied by social and cultural changes. What is also of enormous significance is that accelerated urbanism is not just a facet of life in large metropolises. It is also transforming lives in the towns and cities across India beyond those cities that have been the usual focus of scholars of urbanism. This book is extremely valuable for precisely this reason: it moves our gaze away from the 'usual suspects' to a city that is the capital of the most populous state in India, an urban locale of extraordinary historical importance and one that is undergoing a tremendous urban upheaval. As global social, cultural and economic forces produce new imaginaries of city life, what actual spaces of co-operation and contest do they create? What visions do they produce of urban futures and how do governments and ordinary citizens engage with these visions? How does a city’s past influence visions of the future? These are just some of the valuable questions tackled by this book. Binti Singh has provided an indispensable guide to a form of urbanism which cannot simply be written upon a blank slate, but must deal with the deeply embedded histories of quotidian sociality as well as powerful contemporary processes of change. This is a timely book and present-day Lucknow richly deserves such detailed attention.
Dr. Binti Singh is an urban sociologist and her expertise traverse the disciplines of urban planning, policy and governance. She holds a Ph.D. (urban studies) and an M.Phil. (Planning and Development) from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay), Mumbai, India. Currently, she is engaged as an Independent Consultant with think tanks and international institutions like the National Geographic and Deakin University, Australia. She is Associate Editor of the Oxford Urbanist. She regularly contributes as a columnist to dailies and magazines like the Business World, Domus India, KNN India and smart city portals like EletsEGov. She is the author of The Divided City: Policy and Ideological Contestations in Contemporary Urban India. Her ethnographic work on Lucknow is compiled into another book titled Lucknow: Culture, Place, Branding and Activism launched in 2018. She is working on book projects with international publishers like Springer and Routledge, Taylor & Francis.