Reframing the Self-Made Urban System

Kritika Sha, Maurice Harteveld (Editor)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


    As a response to the shift of the centre of urbanisation from the global north to the global south, there is a need to extend the existing knowledge base. Self-made systems (equated with informal settlements) and its complex socio-economic dynamics, especially highlight this gap. In the global south, informal settlements often illustrate a distinct form of entrepreneurialism along with acting as an arrival base for many migrant workers. The theoretical exploration of informal settlements, however still has its base in Euro-American literature, remaining at best exploratory in the global south. Even with the authors hailing from the global south, the foundation of the ideas lie rooted in the urban concepts of the global north.
    Locating itself at the cross between the study of socio-economic dynamics in informal settlements and the rise of the global south in urban theory, this research reviews relevant socioeconomic and political concepts or propositions and tests its implications and validity on a selected informal settlement. Dharavi in Mumbai, India forms the testing ground for the propositions, being one of the most prolific informal settlement in Asia. It is particularly known for its entrepreneurial nature along with a dense migrant community, along with its relevance to the surrounding city of Mumbai. The propositions - an ‘arrival city’, an ‘informal economic base’, a site for ‘kinetic urbanism’ are derived from Euro-American theoretical base and bear particular relevance to Dharavi and its socio-economic composition. This testing is executed through detailed spatial
    analysis (based off survey data) along with field observations conducted by the author.
    The exploration of the propositions reveal a multi-faceted nature of Dharavi that extends beyond the current body of urban theory. Considering the presented propositions and their validation on Dharavi and its links to Mumbai, it becomes possible for us to question and reposition the informal settlement in the current urban theory discourse.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Entrepreneurial City
    EditorsH. Tieben, Y. Geng, F. Rossini
    PublisherInternational Forum on Urbanism (IFoU)
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Print)978-962-8272-33-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Informal settlements
    • Global south
    • Dharavi


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