India is urbanizing rapidly: by 2030 more than 40% of the country’s population is projected to become urban.

As a major 21st century issue, opportunities and challenges posed for India’s urban governance are pressing.  Questions on access and rights to the city, the management and disposal of waste, working lives and forms of mobile labour, are some of the themes that the OICSD is concerned with.  Through conceptual innovation and empirically-grounded research, we are building novel understandings of the spatial and social organization of human activity, its intersection with animal inhabitants of the urban and waste.

Our work shows that extending inquiry to wider ecologies of relations has important bearings for urban governance (access to the commons and infrastructure), urban design (modes of planning and regulation), and urban politics (contested and conflicting practices).  This work, done through collaborative engagements between human geographers, urban ecologists, and cultural anthropologists, generates conceptual frameworks that provide alternate viewpoints on urbanization in India, than those usually on record.  Our work has featured in leading international journals, and we are working closely with policy makers in India to translate conceptual developments into effective practice.