Subramanyam, Nidhi: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

Graduate School
City and Regional Planning
Project Title: 
A stinking problem? Sanitation, sewage, and small cities in Tamil Nadu, India
Project Abstract: 
Rapidly growing small cities house a majority of the developing world's urban population. How do these small cities provide and manage basic services, and the infrastructure that undergird them, in the face of demographic and environmental change? This is the broad question that my proposed research seeks to answer using the lens of sanitation and wastewater management – an everyday but essential urban service that is typically provided at the local level. Using the cases of small cities in Tamil Nadu, India, I examine how decentralization has enabled the local state’s capacity to provide and maintain sanitation infrastructure, and how excluded communities in turn organize to obtain access to clean and improved sanitation. I expect these findings to inform policy decisions as also planning theories on urban sanitation. The initial phase (for which funding is sought) will involve identifying cases in collaboration with local partners, and gathering preliminary data in the form of policy documents and interviews with key stakeholders.