Faculty: Champaka Rajagopal

Urban Planning as Mechanism Design Exploring relationships between Business Cycles and Urban Planning Processes in India

The problem of climate change encompasses entangled societal risks. Frequent flooding through 2022, in Bengaluru, for instance cannot be divorced from loss in productivity for businesses, increased air pollution, increased respiratory health issues, over-burdened hospitals, loss of learning at schools for children and so on. At the heart of the problem of climate change is the construction industry and the real estate sector. The statutory master plans for Bengaluru city alone have oscillated between promulgating paradigms of compact city and outwardly growth, with tensions and collusion between public authorities and real estate/ infrastructure markets. While activists and planning practitioners have for long demanded greater transparency in decision making, transparency eludes state-business relationships. Aspirations of politicians combined with profit making targets of businesses, constitute the political economy of state-market relations in planning for Bengaluru. Opaque deals tend to serve self-interest of interest groups as opposed to public interest, in turn impeding fair competition and equitable distribution of resources. This project pertains to exploring the aspirations of businesses, their profit targets and future visions for Bengaluru on the one hand. On the other, it involves discussions with government officials from authorities involved in planning for Bengaluru on their imagination of open and transparent decision making processes. The answers are not simple, since the political economy is a wicked problem. Students will draw upon the theory of mechanism design, and propose specific interventions to clauses pertaining to Master Planning in the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. Mechanism designs thus proposed will promote win-win solutions between divergent actors, the state and businesses. Field work in Bengaluru is required.