"HUNDRED PERCENT LEGAL, HUNDRED PERCENT ILLEGAL”: BUILDING A MODERN CITY FOR A DYING RIVER, RAVI RIVERFRONT URBAN DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

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This research paper looks at an urban development mega- project, Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project (RRUDP) that is building a new “modern” planned city on the banks of the River Ravi in Lahore, Pakistan. The paper investigates the disconnect in planning imaginations of the state and that of the people at play as this new project is superimposed on the existing geography of the land surrounding the river. It does so by looking at the institutional, legal, and historical factors that shape the project. Interviews with people who support the project as well as those who oppose it illustrate that the fractured space within which the project operates is a rich and generative site of inquiry. Interviews are used to weave together the story of the project and bring into conversation the different worlds of a range of actors, who are otherwise kept apart. The paper makes a case for how this new city is driven by the state’s “modernizing ambitions” and a logic of accumulation that serves narrow elite interest groups at the cost of ordinary citizens lives. A wider engagement with literature in the field of planning and development projects is undertaken to ground the project in planning discourse and chart a way forward to understand projects like RRUDP in Pakistan.

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2023-05-17
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Urban Planning, Development Projects, Displacement
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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