Technotopias – Is a city like a machine or a corporation?

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A significant part of the urban imagination — deriving, for example, from ‘Smart Cities’ ideas and those relating to a variety of apps for urban safety — relates to the role of technology in delivering services, improving efficiency and making cities more liveable in general. But what really makes for smart and safe cities: more technology and CCTV cameras and more electronic kiosks, or is it thinking seriously about the social nature of cities? How are Indian cities being imagined within policy and other contexts? And how do we take into account the deep asymmetries of urban life? Can the model of gated residential communities be the model for workable and sustainable urbanism?


Sanjay Srivastava is Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His published works include several books and articles on a wide variety of subjects including social theory, globalization, urban cultures and gender studies. His book Entangled Urbanism: Slum, Gated Community and Shopping Mall in Delhi and Gurgaon was published by Oxford University Press 2014. Professor Srivastava is advisor to numerous universities including IGNOU, Ambedkar University and CEPT Ahmedabad and is associated with several national and international NGOs. He continues to work on the topic of urban transformations. He is co-editor of the journal Contributions to Indian Sociology.


Awadhendra Sharan is an Associate Professor with the Centre of Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). He has trained as an historian at Delhi University and subsequently at the University of Chicago where his doctoral thesis was on ‘The Question of Untouchability in Colonial Bihar, 1860s to 1950s.’ His current research is focused on Economies and Cultures of Waste and Pollution in Colonial India. Sharan has delivered guest lectures at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi and at Delhi University. His works have been widely published in various research journals. His book ‘In the City, Out of Place: Nuisance, Pollution and Urban Dwelling in Modern Delhi, was released in 2014.