Title: Urbanizing Chennai. The role of urban peripheries in steering economic growth and pursuing sustainability.The objective of this research is to generate knowledge about Chennai’s specific urbanization trajectory through the study of economic and social processes, in conjunction with their spatial and environmental outcomes. This research aims to contribute to the emerging scholarship on peripheral urbanization in India, and across the global South.
The project will document and analyse the profound transformation of metropolitan Chennai that has transpired over the last three decades. In doing so, it will consolidate and expand on the existing knowledge base by bridging diverse research fields and identifying new sites of investigation. In particular, the project combines research tools from the geospatial sciences (e.g., remotes sensing, GIS) with social science methods to construct a multiscalar approach, building on recent academic work. It will map developments at the metropolitan scale as well as at the micro-level, through in-depth study of selected locations.
This ‘Urbanizing Chennai’ project has multiple connections with research currently conducted in the Department of Social Sciences, notably the RUSE project, and engages with the four main keywords: space, labor, environment, knowledge. Specifically, it articulates with ongoing work on urbanization, where broadly similar methodologies and themes are investigated, e.g., a combination of statistical and qualitative data sources, actor-focused research, agrarian urbanism, multiscalar governance arrangements. The project will be conducted with partners in India, mainly the MIDS in Chennai, and Europe (Universities of Cologne and Twente).