Megacities pp 93-109 | Cite as

Re-Forming the Megacity: Calcutta and the Rural–Urban Interface

  • Ananya Roy
Part of the Library for Sustainable Urban Regeneration book series (LSUR, volume 10)


The city of Calcutta (renamed Kolkata in 2001) is a stark manifestation of the stereotype of the Third World megacity. Imagined as a “black hole” of poverty, deprivation, disease, and suffering, Calcutta is seen as the quintessential urban problem, in need of reform and intervention. Such a stereotype rests on two key assumptions. First, it is assumed that the “crisis” of the megacity is synonymous with the crisis of poverty and its concentration in slums, squatter settlements, and other types of urban informality − for example Mike Davis’s (2006) apocalyptic narrative of a “planet of slums.” Second, such megacities are assumed to be disconnected from systems of global capitalism and thus understood to be “off the map” − this occurs, for example, in the global cities/world cities framework of Sassen (1991) and others (for an important critique of the global cities framework, see Robinson 2002).


Special Economic Zone Land Acquisition Indian City Sovereign Power Squat Settlement 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of City and Regional PlanningUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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