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Idea of a City: Mumbai, Baltimore

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The peasants of the country and the government authorities of Mumbai wait for one thing, which has eventually arrived: Monsoon.

On one hand, it is the hope of production and on the other it is about destruction and demolition. There has been history of demolition with monsoon in Mumbai. The authorities wait for the appropriate time when the bamboo is the weakest in the slum unlike theirs which is oiled with legal power.

A series of demolitions were carried out in the last decade in Mumbai in the working colonies where there is shit everywhere, except a place to shit. Basic ameneties in the colonies were denied. Even water.
These colonies are the places where the urban poor reside, who come to work as a driver, milkman, vendor, hawker and safai karamcharis for people residing in decent living conditions. They are the people who run the city in spite of city running over them, everyday minute by minute.

The urban of the city such as Mumbai constitutes a space, where the possibility of generation of new space exist. This space is filled with anonymity and diversity which produces and reproduces networks, social networks of many a kind, which is difficult for tinder to match.

These spaces destroy the old conservative ideas such as caste and recreates it in another form. This constant creation and destruction with inflow of migrants is dependent on the geography and the space availablity of the city. Because it allows and disallows things and events to happen.

The housing policies of the city all over the world from Mumbai in India to Baltimore of USA has been witnessing breeding ground of spaces of ghettoisation. Where the urban poor are sanitized and are put in a closed space, so that they do not interfere in the aesthetics of the rich or pushed away to the periphery where the resources of the city are difficult to avail.

These policies always strikes the minorities and the marginalized. It can be biased in the form of caste, color, race or religion. It destroys the idea of mixed neighborhood. The neo-liberal forces and market defined growth of the city shapes these policies hand in hand with the state, building a nexus of politician-builder-police.

But the idea of the city is too big to be damned by these forces. It makes all the urban poor live in a close proximity where they are dependent on each other and they rely on these social networks for their survival.

On one hand city is the place where all the money is deployed, taken indirectly from the rural area and natural resources of the country making it the result of neo-liberal development, and on the other hand it also keeps alive the potential and the biggest threat of this development: all oppressed together in their closed social network.

In the globalised world of today, the cities are facing the similar issues from third world to first world countries.

Can they be joined with their similar problems and questions ? Can a urban poor protesting at Mumbai express solidarity with worker in Delhi and with London ? Does the idea of city to survive lies in the networking between urban poor of the city ?

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