Bangalore – A Worlding City

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Bangalore, also known as Bengaluru is one of the largest cities in India now. Over the past decade it grew to become an employment hub for the country.  A combination of new national economic liberalization policies and the emergence of a strong education system in the city encouraged the development of an information and communications technology sector in Bangalore and paved the way for its rapid development into both a national and a global ICT center.

The making of a world city. The first thing that probably comes to our mind is making a city meet global standards. Bangalore has been doing just that for nearly a decade now. A small garden city, a dreamland for retired citizens faced rapid urbanization like no other Indian city. All of a sudden the roads were not enough or wide enough, lakes were encroached and immigrants were increasing.

Steps had to be taken but this city that was run solely by the opinions of the locals couldn’t function that way anymore. The government began doing what it thought would move Bangalore closer to the concept of a global city by keeping the public out of it. These methods raised concerns among the public. But how else can Bangalore become a World city?

Michael Goldman in his research ‘Bangalore: The Making of a World City’ explains this. Why the authorities are doing what they are doing and what it results in. He studies the transformations of land, government and citizenship that are taking place under liberalization in Bangalore. Any sort of proposal for the betterment of Bangalore was rejected by the public. They either refused to give up their individual land or protested against the changes. These people become private barriers against the city’s development and to avoid this the government keeps the people in shadow. Goldman concludes that in the race to catch up with Shanghai and Singapore, Bangalore has become a new speculative model that strips ordinary citizens of their human rights.

For example, the government had to acquire land from the farmers around a lake to develop an IT corridor and improve the traffic flow. The public hated this proposal and there were multiple protests by farmers not wanting to give up their land, environmentalists etc. But the vision of the corridor was to address a problem. Traffic and large number of software employees having to travel through poor infrastructure on a daily basis. Theses private barriers delayed the project significantly. The development was meant for the IT employees of Bellandur, to address their problem. The farmers were given alternate land but they still had every reason to protest because they were not the ultimate users of the corridor.

From what I see it is important for the people of Bangalore to get involved with the city. After all the changes are for the betterment and the outcome can be experienced only when we give the government a chance.

Like Goldman says “Now is the time to create a functioning municipal government that can represent locality based concerns about land.” Now is the time to make Bangalore a Worlding City.

Reference 

Roy, A., & Ong, A. (2011). Worlding cities: Asian experiments and the art of being global. Michael Goldman, Speculating on the Next World City.

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