The Brand-new Riverfront and the Historical Centre: Narratives and Open Questions in Contemporary Ahmedabad, India
Keywords:water heritage, displacement, riverfront development, UNESCO World Heritage
AbstractIn 2002, the city of Ahmedabad (India) was profoundly shaken by severe interreligious riots. Subsequent years saw deep transformations in the image of the city and the consolidation of the right-wing Hindu nationalist party in the local and supra-local political arena. This article investigates some of the spatial manifestations of an urban transformation involving the valorization of historical heritage. The article focuses in particular on the large-scale Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project, which began in 2005 and remains ongoing, and on the inclusion of the historical center of Ahmedabad in the World Heritage List in 2017. The two developments have profoundly reshaped the image of the city and its river. The article offers an analysis of the city's transformations and of the related rhetoric promoted by the local governing coalition. It highlights the city's role in shaping a vision of a global, sustainable and historic metropolis.
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