Thesis project: The Potential of the Smart City in the Peripheries of Bengaluru, India: on the inclusivity of infrastructures for marginalised groups
Title of thesis: The Potential of the Smart City in the Peripheries of Bengaluru, India: on the inclusivity of infrastructures for marginalised groups.
Author: Bart A.M. van Gils
M.Sc: International Development Studies, cum laude
As smart city development steadily gains more and more traction among urban policy makers throughout the Global South, many scholars warn for the negative consequences smart city technology may have on the access to infrastructure, democratic citizenship, and the position of marginalized groups. This thesis contributes to this body of literature, but takes a refreshing perspective, as it critically searches for the potential for inclusive smart cities in the urban peripheries of Bengaluru, despite the general negative connotation present in academic debates. Bengaluru is one of the hundred participating cities in India’s Smart City Mission.
As Bengaluru’s state institutions fail to deliver widespread basic services in the periphery, market and civil society actors take on institutionalised and hybridised functions in the governance of infrastructure. I argue that these processes will only be intensified and utilised by Bengaluru’s smart city projects, which may have both positive and negative consequences on marginalised groups’ infrastructural access. How these projects will be realised, depends on the State’s normative and ethical considerations in further shaping its smart city policy. In an effort of critical pragmatism, this thesis provides five instructive pathways for policy makers to ensure inclusive smart city practices, that can prevent or alleviate the marginalisation of infrastructural access.
This thesis has taken shape through a combination of an infrastructural governance analysis and quantitative and qualitative socio-spatial analyses, which led to a model on the infrastructural configurations of Bengaluru’s peripheries. Set against a discourse analysis on state-, market- and civil society perspectives, agendas and practices regarding smart cities, urbanisation and inclusivity, this methodological approach provides perspective on the potential of inclusive smart city development, particularly in the context of urban peripheries of the Global South.
Link to the thesis: click here