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From Farming to Development: Urban Coalitions in Pune, India


  • I would like to acknowledge the financial support provided for this work by a two-year studentship from the Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies (FURS), as well as fellowships from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. I would like to thank Gavin Shatkin for his input and patient reading of multiple drafts of this article, and the three IJURR referees for their very helpful comments. Any errors remain my own.

Neha Sami (, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Michigan, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.



In an increasingly global India, an agricultural community in Pune, Maharashtra was faced with losing farmland to urbanization and devised an unusual solution. Pooling their land together, these farmers leveraged their social and political networks to take advantage of the changing economic climate in Pune and built a mixed-use township on their 400 acres of farmland. They formed alliances with other stakeholders, both internally within the agricultural community and externally at the city and state levels. This case study highlights the significance of ad-hoc coalitions in the power and politics of urban processes in an Indian city. These coalitions have emerged as a result of a political power and leadership vacuum in Indian cities in the face of the changing focus and priorities of national and regional governments as well as a growing gap in urban service provision.


Dans une Inde toujours plus mondialisée, une communauté agricole de Pune (Maharashtra) confrontée à la perte de terres cultivées au profit de l'urbanisation a mis au point une solution originale. Réunissant leurs terres, les agriculteurs ont mobilisé leurs réseaux sociaux et politiques pour tirer parti du nouveau climat économique de Pune, créant une commune plurifonctionnelle sur les 160 hectares de leurs terres arables. Ils ont formé des alliances avec d'autres parties prenantes, à la fois au sein de la communauté agricole et aux niveaux de la ville et de l'État. Cette étude de cas souligne l'importance des coalitions ponctuelles dans les structures de pouvoir et les politiques des processus urbains en Inde. Dans les villes indiennes, ces coalitions sont nées d'une vacance du pouvoir politique et des responsables face à l'évolution des centres d'intérêt et des priorités des gouvernements national et régionaux, ainsi que des insuffisances croissantes dans la fourniture des services urbains.