Hawa Khaana in Vasai Virar- Urban Housing and the Commodification of Airspace in Mumbai’s Periphery
This presentation charts the transformation of Vasai -Virar - a peri-urban area north of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) - from a ‘dormitory town’ to a Municipal Corporation. Professor Jose suggests that state policy framed around the rhetoric of ‘housing for the poor’ and an overwhelmingly private-enterprise driven construction sector combine to transform globally deployed urban planning tools and protocols into a local narrative in Mumbai’s periphery. This essay spotlights a short-lived and recently aborted rental housing scheme and details the technologies that undergird the commodification of built-space. The unprecedented demand for housing produces an overheated trade in speculative real estate and
spawns a ‘virtual’ and vertical built-space that is a characteristic feature of the rapidly developing peripheries of Asian cities. According to Prof. Jose, the legal and political processes that fuel Mumbai’s ‘spectral’ housing produces, in its wake, airscapes–a distinctive urban imaginary.
About the speaker:
George Jose held full-time positions for nearly two decades in the academia and the arts across teaching, research and management roles. He is a Joint-PhD candidate in Anthropology and Contemporary India in the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore (NUS) and the India Institute, School of Global Affairs, King’s College London (KCL). He completed twelve-module coursework read across NUS and KCL, and submitted his doctoral dissertation for examination on January 20, 2017. Before embarking on his PhD, he was a Fellow of Global Prayers – Redemption and Liberation in the City, a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, cross-regional, comparative arts and research project of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Forum Transregionale Studien, Europa-Universität Viadrina and metroZones – Center for Urban Affairs, Berlin. George is a Teaching Assistant in NUS, and assists in a range of modules including ‘Anthropology and the Human Condition’; ‘Urban Sociology’; ‘Social Thought & Social Theory’; and ‘Making Sense of Society’. Before embarking on his PhD, he held Visiting Faculty positions in a range of educational institutions across India. George maintains a strong interest in art practice across disciplines and has assisted on documentary films, worked closely with visual artists, and acted in theatre productions. For a little over two decades, George has engaged in ‘border-crossings’ between ‘the academic social science research and teaching’ sector, on the one hand, and ‘the creativity, arts and culture’ sector, on the other. This has alerted him to the need to forge fresh connections that bring the arena of arts practice in dialogue with theoretical research. He is stimulated by the challenge of developing innovative curricula and pedagogy that seek to work with interdisciplinary paradigms and generate an interface between philosophy and practice