Kolkata 2008

After Nairobi, Metrobasel, Canary Islands and Napoli we continue the series of international urban portraits with the study of Kolkata. Instead of understanding the city as a system composed of binary opposites, such as formal and informal parts, the study attempts to unfold the very complex simultaneity and dependencies of these parameters, carefully tracing the basic human activities and their spaces they unfold in. Instead of an approach centered around preconceived grand dichotomies, we would like to focus on the activities on the local scale and follow questions such as how people live, work or move around in the city. The Kolkata Thesis Project is part of a larger ongoing urban research project; under the title of “Specificity and Global Urbanization” a comparative study of global processes of urbanization is being developed, bringing together some of our past research with the upcoming ones. This research program is based on the assumption that contemporary cities do not develop towards a common vanishing point but rather consolidate, transform or adapt their specific traits. These processes are not only undertaken through their local specificity or historical tradition, but by developing new modalities of transformation and novel forms of differentiation in the wake of the contemporary global networks. Cities are hence drawn back to their own material configuration through the processes of globalisation. The result of the project on “Specificity” will be a series of publications, with the Kolkata Project representing a major part of it.

The topics are:
A City of 15 Million People
Kolkata’s Architectural Legacy
Salt Lake City
Rajarhat - Kolkata New Town
Hooghly River - The River in between
Bodies of Water
Howrah Station and Howrah Bridge
Bowbazar, Burrobazar and the New Market
The Image of Tiljala
Invisible Chinese
Charity Tourism
Park Street to Park Circus

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