Contrasting lived experiences of segregation: from access to housing and services to access to the city in the peri-urban fringe of Amritsar (India).

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Submission Summary
While the link between socio-economic and residential segregation has gained attention in the last years, particularly in western urban studies, how spatial segregation and social inequalities operate as a multi-scalar and multi-layered processes, and their underlying causes and consequences across generations, remain largely unexplored. This is particularly true for cities in the Global South rendered ‘silent’ by the disproportionate epistemological privileging of Western and megacities. Challenging the dominance of wester-Eurocentric urban theory this paper aims to bring to the forefront the lived experiences of segregation of residents in the peri-urban fringe of Amritsar in India. Taking access to housing and residential segregation as starting point, the paper explores how further social in/exclusions are (re)produced and passed across generations. For that purpose, the paper presents two contrasting case-studies. On the one hand, by exploring how access to housing, services and the city space at large (i.e. access to labour market, work places, and leisure time activities) is negotiated by residents in Mulechak, a village at the edge of the municipal corporation, the paper highlights the perpetuation of caste-based social and spatial segregation and exclusions. On the other hand, by investigating access to housing in Dream-City, an elitist housing scheme, the study reveals how imported urban imaginaries and improved transport infrastructures sustain the idea of luxury lifestyles that are likely to continue generational inequalities. The contrasting lived experiences of segregation from both cases, highlight the increasing polarisation in the peri-urban development of Amritsar and by extension in other middle-size Indian cities.
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1: Inclusiveness and empowerment. Al-Majlis: planning with and for communities
Academic staff and Research Fellow
Institute of Urban Development, University of Kassel

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