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West Bengal

Negotiating Spatial Contradictions

To study the territorial impact of logistics infrastructure on a broader and diverse landscape, and the symptoms of transformation it creates that lie in spatial contradiction to the once rural territories in Bengal, India.

Abstract

Bengal has an important place in the regional, national and international development context for India. Historically and contemporarily, this development is led by logistics infrastructure. These logistics infrastructures are centred on urban agglomeration of Kolkata, connecting it to other urban agglomerations in India and Southeast Asia. In the past two decades, Bengal has seen the implementation of a number of large-scale logistics infrastructure projects that connect urban agglomerations and cut through its rural landscapes. With connectivity, the urban-rural territories are transforming rapidly into local agglomerations within a vernacular landscape. These differentiating spaces create contradictions in the built environment, organisation of space, productive landscapes, governance and flowscapes. With Kolkata’s primacy being dominantly featured in planning for the region, these urban-rural territories remain under-studied. This thesis studies the spatial contradictions created in once rural territories in Bengal with an introduction to logistics infrastructure. The thesis describes these spatial conditions, theorises them in contemporary urban debates and studies their policy implication for planning agencies.

 

     

An Anecdote

 

A shared auto (3-wheeler) ride in bengal, brought an auto driver, two farmer, a student, a factory worker, 2 newly-wed housives and a researcher together in summer of 2017. Usually an urban mode of transport, auto carries a driver and three passenger, but that day we were eight. It brought us closer to a permanent job, diverse market centres, educational institutions, regional railway lines and accessibility within the jurisdictions. Without this trip, accessibility to these facilities and region would be compromised by weather, safety, availability and distance.