Institute of Geography and Sustainability of the University of Lausanne
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Small cities, urban environments and governance in India

Research fields Political ecologies
Cities, policies and environment
Political Ecology
Gouvernance urbaine
Urban political ecology
Keywords Urban governance
Small and medium cities
Environmental governance
Environmental politics
Political ecology
Funding Swiss National Science Foundation
Duration October 2012 - October 2015
Researchers Cornea Natasha (Scientific collaborator)
Véron René (Scientific collaborator) [web] [email]
Zimmer Anna (Scientific collaborator)

While there is a growing body of research on the dynamics of environmental change, urbanisation and governance in India that research dominantly focuses on the metropolises. Our understanding of the realities in small and medium size cities (100,000 – 500,000) is limited in spite of their ecological and demographic importance. While these cities face environmental challenges similar to those in metropolises; resulting from population pressures, pollution, resource (over)use and inadequate public provisioning of housing, sanitation and waste management, they are thought to have less technical and fiscal capacity to address these issues. Decentralisation of local governance and the imposition of neoliberal reforms have shaped the ability of cities to respond to these issues. Simultaneously, centrally sponsored schemes, such as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, provide both incentives and pressures for cities to address the source and symptoms of environmental degradation, while also imposing a host of other reforms. Working through the lens of urban political ecology this project adopts a comparative case-study approach to examine environmental governance in small cities in Gujarat and West Bengal, states that have had significantly different economic and political trajectories.

Project location


Véron, R. (2010). Small Cities, Neoliberal Governance and Sustainable Development in the Global South: A Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda. Sustainability, 2(9): 2833-2848. Doi:10.3390/su2092833 Info