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Gis and the Transformation of India’s Local Urban Governance

Authors: Falguni Mukherjee*, Sam Houston State University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban Geography, Asia
Keywords: Critical GIS, governmentality, urban governance, India
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There is increasing evidence of GIS spatial engagement by local governments in India for urban governance purposes. The national government has facilitated GIS use at the local and regional level by providing a variety of incentives. However, very few studies have examined how the process of urban management and governance in India influences GIS spatial engagement by local government agencies. Drawing upon GIS implementation, critical GIS and governmentality studies, this article address this gap by examining GIS use by an urban local body in India amidst India’s rapid urban transformation. By using the case of Surat Municipal Corporation, this paper investigates how GIS use by urban local bodies has transformed from a practice of internal office automation into an active process of building an information infrastructure for the national government while managing the urban population. Urban local bodies also use spatial technologies as a means to align with the national agenda and highlight themselves on the national stage. The GIS practices adopted by the urban local bodies provide opportunities for citizens to participate in urban governance. Close examination however reveals that such practices are largely government centric rather than citizen centric.

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