Displacement, Revolution, and the New Urban Condition provides a window into the global urban contradiction through the lens of a Third World city. It is not a book on urban India, or a book on Ahmedabad city, or even a book on the Sabarmati River Front Development (SRFD) project, but it is a book that uses all these lenses to conceptualize urban exploitation.
The author develops a dialectical praxis of theory transfer that takes us from the First World to the Third World and back again. In the process, the arrow of theory transfer is not reversed, because theory cannot be transferred by simply changing the direction of the arrow; instead, an attempt is made to (re)produce and (re)inform different conceptual worlds by juxtaposing it with the SRFD project in Ahmedabad city.
This book is, therefore, as much about the poor people of Ahmedabad as it is about global urban displacement and the politics of resettlement and resistance—theory and practice are always inflected, and the chapters demonstrate this inflection deeply and clearly. The point is to change the world, and to do so we must relentlessly struggle to better the concepts that we use to understand it with. This book is such a struggle.
Chapter 3: Accumulation, Estrangement, and Displacement
Accumulation, Estrangement, and Displacement
They want us to move because our homes are ugly; the government wants to make the city beautiful. Water parks, hotels, skyscrapers will replace our “dirty” homes and we will be pushed outside the city. The poor are never free, we didn't have independence under the British, we don't have freedom now—we don't have freedom to continue to live where we live. (Kurshidbhai, local organizer against the Sabarmati River Front Development [SRFD] project)
I lost my home in the 2002 riots; I was homeless for six months and lived in a relief camp. I know how it feels to lose one's home, but we have to move in order for this project to happen, I will move where the ...