Limits of policy and planning in peri-urban waterscapes

Published on
April 9, 2015


Mehta, L. & Karpouzoglou, T. (2015). Limits of policy and planning in peri-urban waterscapes: the case of Ghaziabad, Delhi, India. Habitat International, 48(August 2015): 159–168.


The notion of the waterscape has been proposed to capture the interconnectedness of economic, political, cultural and social processes embedded in water. More recently recognised, yet still relatively under-theorised are waterscapes that are ‘in-between’ the city and the periphery. This article focuses on peri-urban Delhi, specifically the area around Ghaziabad. We show that peri-urban waterscapes do not fit into existing urban or rural planning models because these same models largely fail to recognise the peri-urban interface as a distinct form of territorial development. As a result a diverse range of mobilisations around water relevant to the peri-urban poor are systematically undermined while power asymmetries that shape access to water remain unrecognised. Peri-urban spaces thus continue to be planned as if in a transition towards urban modernity despite the complex social, political, technological and cultural realities these spaces represent. The failure to address current limits of policy and planning in peri-urban waterscapes has long term implications for the resilience, sustainability and transformative adaptation of both city and periphery.