Uncivil City

Ecology, Equity and the Commons in Delhi

Amita Baviskar,

Uncivil City: Ecology, Equity and the Commons in Delhi
 
 
As cities become habitat for most of humanity, the question of their ecological capacity to sustain lives worth living becomes ever more critical. Yet, when we listen to debates about city planning and governance, and observe urban environmental campaigns on the ground, we notice that they have little to do with ecology or justice. To examine this contradiction, Uncivil City: Ecology, Equity and the Commons in Delhi looks at two decades of environmental politics in Delhi—across homes and workplaces, ordinary streets and extraordinary spectacles, and the river and the Ridge. It argues that the terms of the discourse—what is an environmental issue, who is authorised to speak, and which modes of action count as legitimate—are partial, particularistic and perverse. ‘Bourgeois environmentalists’, who claim to speak in the public interest, for nature and society, have made the city what it is: unfair and unliveable. Only citizenship and civility will save the commons—air, water, space and trees—upon which cities depend for survival.

 


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