Notes on a Southern Urban Practice
Environment & Urbanization
By #UnequalCities Network member Gautam Bhan

Abstract: Writing alongside Southern urban theorists, this essay argues that the emerging body of “theory from the South” must be simultaneously tied to the production of forms and theories of practice. It must ask: How can a new body of thought give us ways of moving and modes of practice? Drawing from the experience of Indian cities, three such modes of Southern practice are offered: squat as a practice not just of subaltern urbanization but of the state; repair in contradistinction to construct, build and even upgrade; and consolidate rather than focus on the building of a singular, universal network within services and infrastructure. The essay then offers a first set of shared characteristics that may enable us to think of a practice as “Southern”, and urges the expansion of a vocabulary of Southern urban practice.

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