The ordinary city and the extraordinary city : the challenges of planning for the everyday

Keswani, Kiran and Bhagavatula, Suresh (2020) The ordinary city and the extraordinary city : the challenges of planning for the everyday. Working Paper. Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.

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Recent work on informal urbanism argues that ‘informality’ is a strong force in determining and shaping how cities in the global south grow, and hence needs to be a part of emergent urban theory. This paper uses this argument as a starting point, drawing upon the work of scholars who suggest that urban informality may have an organizing logic, a system of norms that emerge from the economic conditions and the social needs of people. Specifically, this paper examines informality in the urban space as an outcome of spatial and economic changes in a market precinct in Bangalore. It finds that activities in the street are temporal in nature. In this paper, the ordinary city encapsulates how people use urban spaces on an everyday basis and the extraordinary city reflects how urban spaces are transformed during a periodic, religious and cultural festival. The paper makes two key contributions, one, to show through an in-depth spatial ethnographic study how the ‘ordinary–extraordinary’ might help us understand informal urbanism and two, to propose that it may be useful to have intermediate levels of planning that incorporate the conditions of the ‘ordinary’ city as well as the ‘extraordinary’ city, thereby contributing to both theory and practice.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Authors: Keswani, Kiran and Bhagavatula, Suresh
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Informal urbanism, Urban informality, Urban space, Spatial ethnography, Everyday practices
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Life sciences; biology > Ecology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > University Publications > Working Paper
Full Text Status: Public
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Note: The working paper series aims at reflecting the range of work done across the Azim Premji Foundation, including the Field Institutes and the University, and disseminating this work to a broader audience. University faculty, members of Field Institutes of the Foundation as well as students graduating from the University may contribute to the series. The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in these papers are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Azim Premji University.
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