Displaced by development: How the state can hinder or help

November 16, 2016
Ann George and S. Irudaya Rajan

Recent decades have seen dramatic changes in the southern Indian city of Kochi, where a series of mega developments has reshaped the city and its suburbs – and displaced many residents. In their 2015 paper “Changing Cities and Changing Lives: Development Induced Displacement in Kochi, Kerala”, researchers with the Centre for Development Studies and Union Christian College examine the lives of those uprooted by development. Through surveys and interviews, they found that while poverty, inequality, violence, and physical insecurity did not emerge as major concerns, various forms of state violence — from negligence and inefficiency to brute force —caused a great deal of unnecessary suffering for the displaced.

Yet interviews also revealed the agency of the displaced as they struggled for fair compensation. Conclusions suggest that those uprooted can better bear the hardships of resettlement when compensation packages allow for modest improvements in their living situation.

Read the full article (PDF, 349 KB) in Cities People Places: An International Journal on Urban Environments.

Explore the IDRC-supported project, Involuntary resettlement: A cross-country study on urban inequality and poverty.

Learn more about IDRC’s research support to make cities safer through the Safe and Inclusive Cities partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.