14 February - Gravensteen Lecture: Jan Nijman (University of Amsterdam)

Professor Jan Nijman will give a lecture on: India's Urban Future. Gravensteen Room 11, 3-5pm.

Date & Time
14 february 2014

Gravensteen, Room 0.11
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

Reception to Follow at Faculty Club Brasserie
Sponsored by LGI & AMT

India's Urban Future

About 32 percent of the Indian population presently lives in cities and the national and state governments are intent on increasing that number. Urbanization is considered integral to modernization and progress, as has been the past experience of most of the developed world today. But India’s urbanization rate is actually slow and the economic structure and labor market of major Indian cities is quite different from those in the West (then or now). Urban slums have expanded and slum populations have increased, in absolute and relative terms, despite successive policies aimed at slum eradication or rehabilitation. It may well be that slums are and will remain a structural presence in modern Indian cities. The lecture consists of two parts. The first posits a general argument about urbanization in India at large. The second examines the persistence of India’s urban slums and explores the mindset of slum dwellers. Based on extensive surveys, this paper reports on views and perceptions from inside Dharavi, Mumbai, on environmental issues, matter of work and livelihoods, and community. The findings underline how the very definition of ‘the slum’ is inherently a matter of contestation.

Speaker Bio

Jan Nijman is Professor of Urban Studies and director of the Centre. He also chairs the undergraduate programme in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. Trained as a geographer (PhD, U of Colorado at Boulder, 1990), his interests reach across the social sciences and humanities. Most of his work deals with urban theory and the role of cities in their broader regional and historical contexts. His regional expertise is in North America and South Asia, with special interests in Miami and Mumbai. He has 15 years of research experience in urban India. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (USA), National Geographic Society, Guggenheim Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Current research projects focus on the rise and fall of US suburbs (part of a larger collaborative and comparative project on global suburbanism) and on the economic and cultural geographies of slums in Indian cities.

Nijman is chair of the Global Exploration Fund (Europe) of the National Geographic Society and he is Professor Emeritus in Geography at the University of Miami. He was a recipient of the Nystrom Award for best doctoral dissertation in Geography in the United States (1991) and he is a former Guggenheim Fellow.

Last Modified: 22-01-2014