Perhaps the most exciting thing about the KRVIA-Grids project is that it begins with an observation of the off-grid. Acts of denial of access and appropriation of identity are observed in the context of the national park in Mumbai. Stories of claim to the grid, its accompanying infrastructure, of resistance to the grid, are examined, to theorise the ways in which claim is staked through various acts of representation in the Grid City.



In Mumbai, three dazzling decades of urban development and steady economic growth has been accompanied by the steady deterioration – and sometimes the spectacular breakdown – of the city’s infrastructural grids. This sub-project explores the recursive relationship between infrastructural practices and their representations. 

Our focus will be the competing images, discourses, and conceptualizations of infrastructural grids that circulate in the city, paying attention to the way infrastructural representations are bound up to imaginations and ideas of urban difference and hierarchy – spatial, gendered, racialized, casted, as well as the intersectional interactions among all these structures of inclusion and exclusion.

The objectives of this project therefore are:

• To bring to light the competing representations of ‘urban problems’ and ‘grid-based solutions’ that underpin urban infrastructure and ‘world class’ development initiatives and projects. Where do these empowered representations come from and by what circuits do they travel and find traction, locally, nationally, and globally?

• By focusing ethnographic attention on the “phatic labour” involved in mitigating the problem exacerbating effects of formal grid-based ‘solutions,’ we will bring to light other ways that urban problems are framed and represented, as well as the solutions that these representations suggest.

• To contribute to policy and research agendas by drawing attention to the way in which urban pathologies are bound up with the question of how problems are framed, and to how such framings constrain the imaginations of possible ‘solutions.’ Our goal, in other words, is to reimagine ‘solutions’ by attending to competing representations of urban problems

Project Team