Feminist Urban Futures: I have received international recognition as one of the few scholars working on feminist urban futures in the global south pioneering an original research agenda linking digital geographies, urban infrastructures and Violence Against Women (VAW) in urban India. This work has opened up important new research horizons around a gendered right to urban technology from the urban peripheries. This has attracted BRITISH ACADEMY GCRF funding (PI) titled ‘Disconnected Infrastructures and VAW’ and AHRC GCRF NETWORK GRANT (PI) titled ‘Gendering the Smart city’. This work has used creative practices and co-production (of films, hip-hop music video, exhibitions and Storymaps) as a tool for empowerment of marginal social actors and has also transformed the work of NGOs and activists in India. On the basis of this work, I was invited to present in a high-level policy roundtable organised by Indian National Institute of Urban Affairs to feedback into policy on urban governance.
Smart Cities and Digital Urbanism: I am known internationally for pioneering theoretical and empirical work on India’s smart cities and the ‘digital turn’ in urban studies. This work has opened up important new research horizons in conceptualising speed and time in postcolonial urban futures. This has attracted ESRC NEWTON funds (PI) titled ‘Learning from Small Cities’, AHRC GCRF funds (PI) titled ‘Learning from the Utopian City’, BRITISH ACADEMY GCRF funds titled ‘Digitising the Periphery: Co-Producing a Toolkit for Digital Democracy and Inclusive Urbanisation‘ and SNSF funded (CoI) titled ‘Smart Cities: Provincializing the global urban age in India and South Africa‘. This led to several publications in international refereed journals as well as op-eds and podcasts, numerous keynotes and significant recognition in international policy through presentations in the United Nations in Geneva and New York.
Regional Futures: I was awarded the EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL (ERC) ADVANCED GRANT in 2020 to initiate a new five-year research project on the dynamics of digitalisation-as-urbanisation in the global south. This project will conduct the first comprehensive South-South investigation of the transition to automated planning processes in metropolitan regions, and its impacts on regional urbanisation. It will conduct research in peri-urban municipalities of three rapidly growing metropolitan regions where municipal digitalisation is directed towards strategic regional planning. These municipalities face major challenges with transforming paper-based colonial and postcolonial bureaucracies into automated planning processes within highly unequal contexts, and therefore represent the wider experience of digitalisation-as-urbanisation in the global south.
Check out map below for information on my research sites.