Urban parks in India are often discussed as positive environmental projects, and their creation appears as unproblematic in public discourse. This paper presents the creation of a municipal park in a small city in Gujarat, India. Using insights from history and architecture, we stress the importance of reading parks as political and to some extent ideological projects in the larger context of city-making. The political ecology and history of the particular park studied here allow us to problematise the socio-ecological project of urban “beautification” via park creation. The municipal park, established in the centre of a small urban agglomeration after displacing a slum settlement from the site, is–as we argue–an integral part of a local geography of power. As such it expresses several registers of values upheld by local elites and brings into focus highly conflictive social relations. The case study contributes to further developing a situated urban political ecological approach that starts theorising cities from the South. It moreover offers a critical perspective on the understudied urban nature of small towns.
|Number of pages||18|
|Early online date||17 Mar 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Jan 2017|
- urban political ecology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law