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Postcolonial urban futures: Imagining and governing India's smart urban age

Datta, A; (2019) Postcolonial urban futures: Imagining and governing India's smart urban age. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space , 37 (3) pp. 393-410. 10.1177/0263775818800721. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper examines the ‘future’ as a blueprint for social power relations in postcolonial urbanism. It addresses a crucial gap in the rich scholarship on postcolonial urbanism that has largely ignored the ‘centrality of time’ (Chakrabarty, 2000) in the politics and speed of urban transformations. This paper takes postcolonial urbanism as a ‘colonisation of/with time’ (Adam, 2004) that reaches across spaces, scales and times of the past, present and future to produce cities as spatio-temporal entities. Using the lens of ‘futuring’ (Urry, 2016) as a practice of imagining and governing cities through speed, this paper analyses India’s national 100 Smart Cities Mission through a set of popular myths that create a dialectic relation between past and future. It suggests that smart cities in India are marked by the deployment of two parallel mythologies of speed – nationhood and technology. While the former refers to a mythical moral state, the latter refers to transparent and accountable governance in order to produce smart cities in the image of the moral state. The paper concludes that while postcolonial future time is imagined at the scale of the smart city, there is a simultaneous recalibration of its governance at the scale of the nation.

Type: Article
Title: Postcolonial urban futures: Imagining and governing India's smart urban age
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0263775818800721
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0263775818800721
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Postcolonial futures, smart city, mythology, good governance, technology, speed and time
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082961
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