Você está na página 1de 54

AN ECOLOGY OF VULNERABILITY

SEWERAGE IN AHMEDABAD, INDIA

Stephanie Tam stam@gsd.harvard.edu MArch I Candidate 2011 Penny White Prize, May - August 2010 Harvard Graduate School of Design This project was conducted with the support of HCP Design and Project Management and Urban Management Centre

In loving memory of another Penny.

This project would not have been possible without the keen interest and support of Bimal Patel and the HCP office, as well as Manvita Baradi and the Urban Management Centre office. Their willingness to rifle through binders, dig through servers, and call up contacts made an immeasurable difference to the research. Thank you to HCP administration for giving me the freedom to pursue my research without worrying about per diem needs. Thank you to the UMC office for sharing lunch with me when tiffins did not come, and for letting me take up office space. Thank you to Mukesh Shah and Jatin Mehta for your endless patience in meeting after meeting of correcting CAD maps. Thank you to Apurva Parikh for furnishing updated sewerage maps and providing me with contacts for further information. Thank you to the following individuals for spending time answering my questions, and welcoming me to their offices, homes and toilets: Manjula Pradeep and the Navsarjan Trust, Ashish Mishra, Himanshu Parikh, Saswat Bandyopadhyay, Bijal Bhatt and Bharati Bhonsale, Kokilaben Bohra and her family, Devendrabhai Parekh and Sureshbhai Parmar, Kantibhai and Lalitaben Solanki. Thank you to the Penny White Committee for giving me the funding to conduct this research.

This paper is for academic fair use only: it is restricted to non-profit, educational use. Commercial usage is prohibited without explicit permission from the author. While great care was taken to ensure informational accuracy, any factual errors remain the authors. This work represents the views of the author, and does not represent the views of any institutions and agencies that have contributed information or support to this project.

Tam 1

[Aesthetics] is a delimitation of spaces and times, of the visible and the invisible, of speech and noise, that simultaneously determines the place and the stakes of politics as a form of experience. Jacques Rancire1 Politicized aesthetics have been a perennial subject of debate for philosophers, art historians and architects, but the politics of aesthetics have been largely unaddressed aside from Rancires examination of the distribution of the sensible. Instead of considering the politicization of aesthetic content, Rancire looks at the political context presupposed by aesthetics. Designs political impact resides in its delineation of stakeholders and assignation of roles: who makes design decisions, and who is served by design. Designs role and value are inextricably tied to a political climate, cultural context having as much political implication as content. As such, design is to be understood as a political act whose relationship with governance needs to be taken into consideration. Trends in design discourse may seem to only reside in the esoteric annals of universities and their affiliated practitioners, but their impact upon practice has very tangible political consequences. Ecological urbanism is a case in point, embracing values that are presumed to be universally applicable without recognizing the specificity of their implicit politics. The latest incarnation of landscape urbanism, ecological urbanism is Charles Waldheims cynical take on a growing body of work that prizes natural evolution as a design process, blindly misreading and misapplying notions of ecology. While his criticism focuses on the gaping disparity between landscape urbanist projects and the ecological discourse that surrounds them, the political impact of this discourse, as unrealized as it may be, remains potent.
1 Jacques Rancire, Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible, trans. Gabriel Rockhill (New York: Continuum, 2004), 13.

Tam 2 The tenets of ecological urbanism aspire to contextual sensitivity, but the tenets themselves are held to be absolute and deemed appropriate for exportation to diverse countries, especially in international development contexts2. John Turners self-help housing and its recent avatar, incremental housing, fall in line with the open systems and user freedom embraced by ecological urbanism. It is precisely ecological urbanisms attachment to indeterminacy and contingency that makes it apt for large-scale projects whose scale and lengthy implementation increase liability for unforeseen changes. Infrastructure projects, in particular, need flexibility in order to remain relevant and functional for its anticipated lifespan and breadth, and ecological urbanism offers the tools and vocabulary to achieve it. Overlooked in the eager taking up of ecological urbanist principles are the political scaffolds upon which the principles were originally founded, scaffolds that are culturally specific and not necessarily transferable from country to country. This paper endeavours to examine the consequences of ecological urbanism in developing countries, taking Ahmedabads sewerage system as a case study to discuss broader issues of the politics of aesthetics. ORGANICISM, AESTHETIC OF THE POOR Efforts to dismiss international developments colonialist roots have resulted in projects that seek to arrive at a language of freedom. Ecological urbanisms neoliberal underpinnings promise to fulfill that need with freedom being interpreted as autonomy and individuality. James Corners description of ecological processes that tend toward the increased differentiation, freedom, and richness of a diversely interacting whole (81) is an apt example of organicisms aesthetic of freedom. Individualism takes a front seat in decentralized aggregations, ludic misuse being encouraged as a kind of productive co-creation. Power to determine form is returned to the people in a gesture of democratic largesse. Natural cycles and temporality emerge as key design parameters, their apparent objectivity construed as politically neutral and therefore preferable to the designers autocratic ego. Both international development and ecological urbanist discourses trace their lineage back to Patrick Geddes, a late 19th century botanist turned planner. His valuation of organic growth stems from faith in the intelligibility of accumulated individual decisions. The most intelligent and appropriate forms result unintentionally
2 While there are numerous problematic associations engendered by use of the term international development, I am employing it synonymously for developing country poverty alleviation projects that may or may not be deemed international, since they are designed and implemented by local engineers and organizations. My usage of the term is an attempt to draw attention to the relationship between such poverty alleviation projects and the international development discourse which these projects draw heavily upon and actively contribute to.

Tam 3

Kuccha and semi-pucca slum houses near Ellis Bridge, West Ahmedabad.

from the uncoordinated decisions of various actors a concept that became the lynchpin of John Turners self-help housing. In the wake of failed housing projects, Turner propagated the belief that the poor are best equipped to design homes for themselves. All that international development projects need to do is give them the freedom to build, a concept that gave birth to site-and-services projects. While the popularity of site-and-services projects has waxed and waned, its reinvention as incremental housing is regaining force. Rather than building from scratch on an empty albeit serviced site, the poor are given a core house that they are expected to grow as time and means allow. Prizing of decentralized control and individual will is carried over from site-and-services projects, a valuation that also emerges in ecological urbanisms laissez-faire, open-ended systems. Ecological urbanism is capitalism on steroids, Adam Smiths laissez-faire market translated into design vocabulary without realizing the attendant regulations that control the so-called open market. Geddes himself did not advocate laissezfaire growth, fearing that uninformed citizens would make detrimental decisions. People need to be educated by the planner to collectively realize a citys direction of growth (Lesser 320). Another ecological urbanist forefather, Lewis Mumford, was similarly cautious of unchecked growth, proposing control measures and the imposition of normalized standards of consumption (Baird 208) for the capitalist city. Turner likewise recognized the need for limitations to the freedom to build, so that individual decisions dont hurt other people or the environment, and are not counterproductive in some other way (10). Indeed, political philosopher T. H. Green argues that freedom should not be seen as a persons power to do anything she likes but as her power to do something valuable for other people (Dimova-Cookson 520). As such, individual freedom is tethered to accountability towards others, the virtues of decentralization needing to be carefully qualified.

Tam 4

There is ample evidence of the dangers of unchecked decentralized decisionmaking in international development projects. Aneel Karnanis article warning against romanticizing of the poor points out that poor people often act against their own self-interest (40), and that they lack the education, information, and other economic, cultural, and social capital (40) to protect themselves and benefit from the free market. Amartya Sen finds that in coping with the sheer necessity of survival [] they may even adjust their desires and expectations to what they unambitiously see as feasible. The mental metric of pleasure or desire is just too malleable to be a firm guide to deprivation and disadvantage (qtd. Karnani 40). The urgency to alleviate insufferable conditions makes immediate satisfaction a priority, with little regard for consequences upon the larger community or the future. Indulgence in expensive addictions, as well as large monetary outlays for festivals and celebrations are two examples of poor financial decisions routinely made by the disenfranchised. Ecological urbanisms fondness for agency forgets that there are certain conditions that allow for Western notions of freedom, conditions that have been backgrounded into everyday value judgments. The unspoken codes that permit freedom have been so absorbed into Western consciousness that they are not recognized as socio-political constructs but as matter-of-fact behaviour.

Tam 5 THE ECOLOGY OF AHMEDABAD SEWERAGE [T]he paradigm of nomadic selves and sites may be a glamorization of the trickster ethos that is in fact a reprisal of the ideology of freedom of choice the choice to forget, the choice to reinvent, the choice to fictionalize, the choice to belong anywhere, everywhere, and nowhere. This choice, of course, does not belong to everyone equally. Miwon Kwon3 Foucaults power structures are so well-entrenched in Western4 consciousness that all systems are perceived to be totalitarian mechanisms for regulating behaviour, insidiously imprinting hierarchic structures onto the natural messiness of life. To counter the perceived petrification of fixed systems, ecological urbanists5 privilege the haphazard, small-scale modifications of individuals in designs that are increasingly decentralized. Acknowledgement of the limitations of human control have been taken to the level of administrative powerlessness so that [t]here is no end, no grand scheme for these agents of change, just a cumulative directionality toward further becoming (Corner 81). Granted infinite autonomy, individuals are free to pursue differentiated paths with the underlying belief that an overall pattern will somehow appear to unify everything into an organic whole. The expected organic whole is a self-fulfilling prophecy in the West. Individuals are preconditioned to see themselves as part of a whole, acculturated to consider the needs of larger society whether or not enforceable rules exist. Consider the way copyright laws work in developed countries: the sheer number of copyrights that are taken out each year makes enforcement of copyright laws an impossible task only blatant infringements that haphazardly reach the attention of the copyrighter provoke legal action. The efficacy of the legal system resides in self-policing, a
3 Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004), 165. 4 Although it is a crude use of terms that belies economic and geographic biases in conceptions of poverty, developed countries is here used interchangeably with the West in an attempt to differentiate between the political context of a country like India, and the political context in which ecological urbanist projects were conceived. To be sure, the countries in which ecological urbanism has taken hold espouse a wide range of politics and have highly individuated design cultures, but they also share a certain understanding of freedom and choice that has allowed ecological urbanism to emerge. 5 My reading of ecological urbanism is admittedly biased towards its conceptual impact on design processes, centering upon the writings of George Baird, James Corner and Ian McHarg rather than the green movement and environmentalism. Likewise, my use of the term politics is a select understanding that follows Rancires usage: to describe the factors that permit or exclude participation, and to describe the groups that are delimited by these factors.

Tam 6 cultural habit of considering the well-being of society before the well-being of the self. It is premised upon faith in the trickle-down effect, an understanding that the individual will benefit from the welfare of the overall whole. In developing countries, this faith has been broken. Large income gaps between the rich and the poor, exclusion of slum populations from city rights and services, and an entrenched caste system that prevents economic and social advancement of certain groups, has dismantled the correlation between security of society and security of the self. Ahmedabads sewerage system demonstrates the adverse consequences of autonomous agency in a developing country. Taxed by years of irregular maintenance, the majority of Ahmedabads pipes are silted to a reduced capacity, leading to sewage overflow onto streets and even inside homes (A. Parikh). Rather than undergoing a full system renovation, small adjustments are continually made on a case-by-case basis to appease individual complaints. They consist of unofficial hotwiring between the storm water drainage and sewerage systems, adding a connection pipe between the two at manhole junctions to divert sewage overflow into storm water pipes instead of spewing onto the street [figure 1]. It is a practice common to many Indian cities constrained by funding deficits (M. C. Mehta), but is a short-term solution that caters to the needs of the individual at the expense of the larger system.

manhole overflow connection storm water pipes sewer pipes

manhole overflow connection sewer pipes storm water pipes

FIGURE 1: Section and plan of overflow connection (after sketch by M. C. Mehta)

Tam 7 Storm water pipes discharge directly into Ahmedabads Sabarmati River, taking with them raw sewage to the tune of 168 million litres a day (AMC City Development Plan 35). Located at the core of the city, the Sabarmati is a drinking water source, as well as a resource for the poor who depend upon it for a number of economic activities from laundering to fishing and farming [figure 2]. It is the poor who are the most exposed to the Sabarmatis high contamination levels, levels that have placed it second runner-up to the most polluted river in all of India (John). Autonomous adjustments that reflect individual demands do not yield a more democratic overall system: they are a species of populism rather than democracy, compromising the welfare of the few who are not in a position to make demands in order to satisfy the needs of the majority. Those who have sewer connections are relieved of overflow problems at the FIGURE 2: Economic activities in the Sabarmati. expense of the poor who do not even have sewer access to complain of, and who depend on the contaminated river for their livelihood. Whereas democracy entails a give and take between the majority and the minority, populism is a wholesale endorsement of the majority, neglecting the needs of the few in the further disenfranchisement of marginalized groups (Lanier). Lack of communication in autonomous acts prevents the poor from even knowing about decisions that affect their well-being. Democracy is facilitated by representatives who act on others behalf at a level of disinterest that is lacking in populism, where all parties act in their own interest (Lanier). Democracy offers negotiation space for groups with contradicting interests, requiring a dialogue to arrive at a consensus. Discussion, coordination, and communal decision-making are cut out of the process when actions are decided upon and executed through autonomous agents. Those who are responsible for the illegal connections are rumoured to be Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation engineers themselves, enigmatic government elves whose handiwork lies undetected if not for water quality testing of storm water effluents.

Tam 8 The incursion of sewage in storm water pipes compromises effluent velocity, leading to silting of storm water pipes and consequent waterlogging. Both sewerage and storm water drainage are gravity-fed systems designed to carry their respective effluents at self-cleansing velocities. Pipe diameters and gradients (slope) are carefully optimized for particular effluents, changes in effluent characteristics thereby resulting in silting (Mara, Low-Cost Urban Sanitation 122; M. C. Mehta). Silted storm water pipes aggravate the existing deficit of storm water drainage in Ahmedabad, generating waterlogging problems all over the city [figure 3].

waterlogged area

FIGURE 3: Right: West Ahmedabad after the monsoon rain, end of July 2010; Left: areas reporting waterlogging problems (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Multi Media Consultants, Ahmedabad Storm Water Drainage Map September 2006, assembled together by S. Tam).

Tam 9 Official attempts to alleviate waterlogged areas are continually counteracted by ongoing illegal connections (A. Parikh), autonomous agents being unaware of intentions aside from their own, and having no accountability to anyone other than themselves. In what he calls the fallacy of collectivism, Jaron Lanier points out that decentralized, autonomous decision-making does away with individual risk and responsibility because the overall result cannot be traced to a specific agent. The ecological urbanist dream of cities in organic self-transformation assumes that anyone can be an agent, that agents will be responsible for their choices, and that agents will consider the impact of their choices upon the larger collective. The fulfillment of all these conditions is questionable in developed countries, but their absence is most blatant in developing countries where agency overtly belongs to select members of the population. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporations latest slum dweller estimate of 900 000 (AMC City Development Plan 73) designates a segment of the population in which the concept of autonomous agency needs to be better analyzed. If slums are to be defined by their lack of legitimacy, the exclusion of squatters from city rights and services dismantles any correlation between their well-being with that of the city, granting them an autonomy that is not powerful but powerless. True agency arises from the freedom of choice, a freedom to consider not only actual choices but potential choices. While the autonomy of slum dwellers may give them a certain freedom from regulations that limit the choices of legitimate citizens, it also denies them the choice to access services. Freedom as an exercise concept (doing what one wants given ones circumstances) needs to be distinguished from freedom as an opportunity concept (having the opportunity to do something, whether one wants to or not). Rajivnagar, Section 2 is a slum community that underwent Ahmedabads 500 NOC slum upgrading scheme in 2006. Previous to upgrading, the community operated in a hybrid of autonomy and hijacked dependency with respect to the city. It built a soak pit for sullage, procured drinking water from a private borewell, and illegally tapped into the citys electrical grid. Open defecation was performed under the cover of night or in the early hours before sunrise, with no nuisance spot designated by the community for defecation (Bohra). Their situation benefited from having full control over their sanitation practices and freedom from city taxes, but it was not freedom from the city that drove them to upgrade their community. The freedom to access potable water from a tap, to not have to maintain the soak pit daily and to defecate during the daytime in a toilet facility, were desires that their autonomy prevented them from fulfilling. If freedom is a personal perception rather than an absolute value (Dimova-Cookson 517), the Rajivnagar, Section 2 community felt

Tam 10 deprived of agency in their autonomy and were therefore unfree. Ever since they acquired toilets, they refuse to openly defecate even when visiting friends or relatives in toiletless communities (Bohra): acquiring legal sewerage has given them the agency to choose between potential sanitation practices [figure 4]. However, agency comes at a price becoming a part of the city demanded sacrifice. Although Rajivnagars upgrading process began in 2000, it was not until January 2008 that sewerage connections were made. The level of FIGURE 4: Two bathrooms in Rajivnagar, Section 2. control over sanitation that they erstwhile exercised was relinquished, and timely self-service gave way to the governments long bureaucratic processes that left the community bereft of potable water for two years after they had completed paperwork for upgrading. The borewell having been contaminated by their self-built soak pit, the community petitioned the government for water. The governments response was to send a tanker on alternating days, although its actual deliveries were more irregular, being susceptible to the bribes of other waterless communities. Continual pressure on the government to follow up with the tanker was needed, and it was a full year after the sewerage connections were made that they finally received legal water connections (Bohra). Their dependency on the cumbersome larger system exemplifies ecological urbanists disparagement of extant systems: they cater to a nonexistent, idealized public and are unreliable, inefficient and inattentive to the diverse needs of the people. However, this slum community is one of 120 others who have been eager to surrender their autonomy and join the city within the past five years, and in the few months that they have finally been able to enjoy legitimate city sewers, the Rajivnagar community is satisfied with its sacrifice. Both the 500 NOC upgrading scheme and its forbearer, the acclaimed Slum Networking Project, claim to integrate slums into the city fabric a nightmare for ecological urbanists who would rather have the city take on the organic fabric of slums. Ahmedabad-based engineer Himanshu Parikh who conceived of the Slum Networking Project concurs with ecological urbanists, seeing the rehabilitation of slums as a means of rehabilitating the city, but simultaneously deems his project

Tam 11 one of slum integration into the city. Parikh has a conflicted relationship with ecological urbanist principles, privileging organic slum growth while subscribing to the notion of rehabilitation, a principle that is discordant with ecological urbanisms appreciation for difference. Inherent in the notion of rehabilitation is the designation of a uniform, idealized condition that needs to be attained, countering the appreciation of difference as a value in and of itself. Parikhs selective application of ecological urbanist notions of freedom reveals its socio-cultural limits in international development projects, limits that are subjective and undergo reinterpretation in the actual implementation of the Slum Networking Project in Ahmedabad. Although Himanshu Parikh claims that the Slum Networking Project integrates slums into the city (Aga Khan Award Architects Record), his slum sewerage is designed to be aesthetically and structurally separate from that of the city. Specially designed miniaturized appurtenances such as earthenware gully traps set his lowcost sewers apart from the citys, while small diameter pipes of 100 to 200 mm announce adherence to principles of simplified sewerage in contrast to the 300 mm diameters of conventional city sewers. Instead of the citys stoneware pipes, Parikh opts for PVC pipes, emphasizing material flexibility as a measure of durability as opposed to Ahmedabad city engineers emphasis on robustness (J. Mehta; H. Parikh; Shah). Besides aesthetic differentiation, Parikhs Slum Networking Project is structurally separate from that of the city: sewered slums are connected together by main trunks to form a network that does not feed into the citys, but is superimposed FIGURE 5: Parikhs Slum Network is a separate structure superimposed upon the extant upon Indore (Cynthia Davidson, Slum Networking of Indore City, 59). system as a relief measure to address lacunae [figure 5]. Slum sewerage is a remedial alternative to city pipes, providing a corrective measure for the shortcomings of the inorganic city, and serving as a shining beacon of exemplary sewerage design.

Tam 12 The Slum Networking Projects independence echoes George Bairds description of organicist infill projects that emphasize the introverted community foci and clearly demarcated perimeter buffers, and [] minimize the extent of their public linkages to the existing urban territory beyond (224). Ignoring public sewage treatment plants, Parikhs system is serviced by decentralized root-zone treatment reed banks that filter water to acceptable biological oxygen demand levels for discharge into surface water bodies. He has tested them at household, community and city-wide levels, advocating them as natural, self-maintaining systems that respond to fluctuating sewage loads. Withdrawal from the public system is symptomatic of his mistrust of the government, whose centralized structure is perceived as opaque and conducive to corruption in addition to being controlling (H. Parikh). Decentralization is viewed as a countermeasure, empowering individuals to act in their own interest against the shrouded intentions of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. For Parikh, private businesses have emerged as more desirable project partners than municipalities because of their efficiency and willingness to provide funding. Parikhs celebration of unplanned organicism and decentralization parallels James Corners faith in agents of change that form a diversely interacting whole. The unifying characteristic of Parikhs whole is topographic sensitivity. In his study of slums, he has found that all settlements respect natural drainage paths, an ordering sensibility that makes seemingly chaotic slums intelligible. Installing slum sewers that are aligned with natural gradients, Parikh has never had to remove a single slum dwelling, unless it was a community decision to accommodate wider roads or create open space (H. Parikh). His use of detailed surveys to overlay site information from topography to the location of household doorways borrows from Ian McHargs influential ecological design method, where the accumulation of design constraints narrows down design choices until a design emerges. As such, design is predetermined by the context. The notable change to McHargs method is Parikhs treatment of slum households as a natural factor in design decisions, interpreting human settlement as an organic entity (Davidson 64) whose behaviour is a given rather than a variable. Slum houses are given the same weight as climate, animal migration patterns, and plant lifecycles in their inevitability, becoming a fixed component that infrastructural design must work around rather than seek to modify. The limits of Ian McHargs contextual determinism are the same limits to Parikhs design process. Selecting the information overlays that inform a design is a subjective act; to decide what is organicist intelligence and what is chaos is to assume a particular political stance. A consistent pattern is read into the location of slum dwellings, making them intelligible and thereby deserving of preservation, whereas

Tam 13 slum infrastructure is deemed chaotic and hazardous. In literature promoting the Slum Networking Project, before and after photographs of an upgraded slum in Indore show a debris-strewn, unpaved road next to a cleaned up, geometrically ordered road with the implication that the latter is a change for the better [figure 6]. Declaring ordered blocks, aligned edges, and cleared pathways improved exhibits a bias for geometric order: when it comes to infrastructure, the organicist aesthetics of ecological urbanism are discarded in favour of functionalism. Sewerage is judged according to whether or not it works, with cost and maintenance becoming primary design criteria, and ecological urbanist strategies are deployed only if they align with functional standards. Himanshu Parikhs distinction between symptoms of freedom (self-built housing) and symptoms of neglect (self-built sanitation) delimits the use of ecological urbanism in international development projects. John Turners emphasis on dweller control and the freedom to build does not extend to sanitation, where the technical complexity of infrastructural design is deemed beyond the ability of slum dwellers, and autonomous sanitation options an unfair burden upon the poor. Community participation is limited to funding, negotiating changes to houses (Bhonsale) and labour during the construction process (Davidson 65). The FIGURE 6: Before and after photographs of the upgraded Indore slum (reproduced from Cynthia Davidson, Slum design of the system itself, Networking of Indore City, 65). the materials, pipe diameters, gradients, and type of sewerage, are determined by engineers. When it comes to matters of health, leaving slum dwellers to freely determine sanitation practices is recognized as an act of gross neglect. Turning slum dwellers into taxpayers is perceived to be a worthwhile sacrifice of autonomy in exchange for the agency to make demands upon the city (H. Parikh).

Tam 14 Parikh is against autonomous eco-sanitation toilets whose daily maintenance he sees as an unfair burden upon slum dwellers, constituting more of an onus than a freedom. However, his own design requires household level maintenance, each house being equipped with a gully trap that it is responsible for emptying to avoid sewer blockages [figure 7]. Although gully trap maintenance is decentralized, it is not so much a means of giving slum dwellers agency, as a means of containing the consequences of poor maintenance at the level of the truant household. Parikhs sewerage system is designed to control dweller behaviour by closing the gap between action and consequence, confronting agents with the results of their decisions to force them to act responsibly. Households that fail to clean up their gully traps will suffer from sewage overflow in their area. Implicit in this built-in accountability measure is recognition of ecological urbanisms blind spot: autonomous agency can only be productive if agents are responsible for their actions. Yet Parikhs attitude towards post-upgrading gentrification fully subscribes to the laissezfaire ethos of ecological urbanists. He believes that slums should be free to participate in an open market, contradicting Slum Networking Project policy recommendations made by Indias National Institute of Urban Affairs FIGURE 7: Photograph and section detail of gully trap (Nohn 5), which advocates (reproduced from Himanshu Parikh, Presentation Panels interventions to protect the of Slum Networking of Indore City, 7). The gully trap filters poorest of the poor from rising out solid waste so that only liquids enter the sewage pipes. slum rentals. Drawing the line between freedom and neglect entails compromise: giving slum homeowners the freedom to better themselves by raising rental prices deprives the most vulnerable slum dwellers of the freedom to choose where to live. Entrusting the well-being of upgraded slums to autonomous agents results in social Darwinism among the different income groups that reside below the poverty line. The free-for-all competition in the survival of the fittest favours slum homeowners with relative financial stability, displacing the poorest of the poor who must seek out more affordable, unupgraded slums.

Tam 15 According to a 2009 report on Ahmedabad slums, only 60% of dwellers are homeowners (Stanwix 24), leaving approximately 360 000 people vulnerable to gentrifying slums. Stanwixs research estimates an average monthly rent of Rs. 495, less than half the amount paid in one of the upgraded houses in Rajivnagar, Section 2 (Bhora; Stanwix 24). Even the prospect of becoming part of the Slum Networking Project raised rents in an Ahmedabad slum by 43% (Nohn 5). A new economic class is emerging that benefits from the affordability of slums without suffering from their infrastructural deprivations. The selective use of ecological urbanist principles in sewerage design has strong political implications: in the case of Himanshu Parikhs Slum Networking Project, it enacts a boundary line between those who have the capacity to benefit from infrastructural services, and those who do not. While this does not mean that slum infrastructure projects should not occur, it does point to a lacuna in the definition of slums according to legal land tenure rather than actual inhabitation. Studies on slum renters are lacking given the emphasis on homeownership in the Slum Networking Project, slums as informal housing taking precedence over slums as people living in informal housing. Slum communities are the product of design decisions that assume communities are the natural result of the unplanned city, authentic manifestations of human relationships uninhibited by artificial order. Lewis Mumfords The Status of the State (1919) sums up ecological urbanisms veneration of communities: The future of nations lies in the success which greets the efforts of communities and associations to establish corporate autonomy and to carry on their functions without subservience to that large and jealous corporation called the state (qtd. Luccarelli 23) Mumfords mistrust of the state and faith in corporate autonomy is echoed in the independence of Himanshu Parikhs slum sewerage and in his pursuit of decentralized maintenance and sewage treatment. Parikhs attitude aligns with Mumfords assertion that the state is a separate body from the people it supposedly represents, with corporation taking on the legal meaning of an artificial entity that is created by acts of legislature (OED) to conduct business on behalf of the elite. Rather than serving the people, the state demands subservience from the people. The anonymous state is placed in opposition to humanised communities and associations that are supposedly formed by people of like intentions, capacities, and customs. Although Ahmedabad slum dwellers do share similar financial capacities, their clustered settlements are less a concerted decision and more the product of

Tam 16 available land pockets and lack of other housing options. The Slum Networking Project as implemented in Ahmedabad designed and defined slum communities to make existing conditions commensurate with ecological urbanist assumptions of natural communities. Gaining the new moniker of Parivartan, Ahmedabads Slum Networking Project diverged significantly from Parikhs original vision6. Implemented through local NGOs that both engineered new sewerage systems as well as trained slum dwellers to maintain them, community became a central concept in motivating collective action. Here Bairds distinction between intentional, unintentional, and nonintentional communities is useful in examining how communities are simultaneously assumed to exist and created in slum sewerage projects. Baird defines intentional communities as groups with pre-existing agreements on living arrangements; unintentional communities as designed attempts to cultivate a previously non-existent community, and nonintentional communities as designed settlements that do not explicitly address the community, focusing instead on relating to the city (223-224). Parivartan created an unintentional community in the sense that there was no pre-existing collective agreement about ways of living in the slums. Instead, Parivartan attempted to create a community by setting up Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to represent the people and extract collective agreements on managing infrastructure. At the same time, Parivartan did not explicitly address its activities as community fabrication, instead dubbing it mobilization of an existing community. Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT) is the technical branch of the Self-Employed Womens Association (SEWA), an NGO that has grown from representing the rights of informal working women to providing assistance more broadly to the disenfranchised. It implemented the Parivartan scheme in 45 Ahmedabad slums (MHT 3), and expended considerable efforts in creating a community to receive new infrastructure. It has been observed that the slum dwellers have very little inclination towards funding community infrastructure or activities (Nohn 4), collective toilets having failed miserably (Bhonsale; Parekh) and community spaces notably absent, though shared religious spaces are well supported (Bohra). MHTs spearhead team cultivated trust from slum dwellers and identified potential community leaders who they trained in basic, technical monitoring. Street plays, videos, sensitization meetings, and exposure visits to other upgraded slums (Bhonsale) brought together slum dwellers to encourage collective decision-making. Assembling fifteen women into a Community-Based Organization was not so much an initiative for communal
6 The ensuing discussion of the Parivartan scheme only addresses Mahila Housing SEWA Trusts projects, although there are other NGOs that have also implemented the scheme in Ahmedabad. For other organizations who have implemented Parivartan, see <http://www.egovamc.com/a_city/amc/ new_features.asp>.

Tam 17 empowerment as it was for facilitating the project in an efficient, cost-effective way (Russ 15). Without collective consensus to participate, slums do not qualify for any upgrading projects because it is not worth the trouble to sewer a few houses at a time. The odd household that refused to participate was usually pressured by newly crowned community leaders to conform (Bhonsale). Communities are not a more free alternative to larger management structures, nor are they exempt from demanding subservience. They simply shift the management scale to a more localized, intensive level that applies pressure via peers and neighbours rather than government officials. Community-Based Organizations can effectively collect the Rs. 5 monthly maintenance fee and closely monitor the completion and maintenance of sewerage systems because they consist of slum dwellers themselves. They report to the larger system, liaising with the municipality to address overflow problems and proper maintenance of manholes, sewer mains and inspection chambers (Bhonsale). The ecological urbanist ideal of autonomous communities transforms into micro-scale bureaucracy when implemented: slum communities are not independent bodies, but scaled down extensions of a larger governing structure. Communities do not always naturally exist in international development projects, nor are they autonomous entities empowered to make decentralized decisions. The limits of community participation are instructive in understanding how much user input is deemed appropriate without compromising the efficiency of the design process. A number of Parivartans design variables are fixed: sewerage appurtenances are identical to the rest of the citys, with stoneware pipes selected from a catalogue of industrial standards; slum sewers extend from city lines, dictated by the location of extant manholes into which they plug in, and slums must pay the same Rs. 280-380 yearly tax as the rest of the city (Bhonsale). The MHT engineers role is more of teacher than facilitator when it comes to engaging with slum dwellers. Their miniature models of pipe fittings [figure 8] train slum dwellers to

FIGURE 8: Miniature S-trap (top) and junctions (above) are used to explain to slum dwellers how sewerage systems work so that they can supervise construction themselves.

Tam 18 monitor construction quality rather than solicit design input. Indeed, MHT engineers attempt to limit unsolicited participation in design decisions. Slum dwellers ask for larger pipes, which they perceive to be less prone to blockages, and are adverse to inspection chambers being located in front of their houses. These design decisions would be detrimental to the sewerage system if MHT did not curb participation: larger pipes are more conducive to blockages (Bhonsale; Mara and Broome 235236), and inspection chambers must be located at frequent intervals to facilitate maintenance. Without what Jaron Lanier calls a high pass filter being applied to screen design opinions, chaos can easily ensue when each person believes that theirs is the best opinion regardless of knowledge or experience. MHTs high pass filter limits technical decision-making to the engineers. Community participation is permitted in non-design areas such as site documentation, with slum dwellers informing engineers of topographic features as well as extant sewer locations and characteristics. When engineers arrive at a design that requires the shrinking of house footprints, the community is informed and fields the negotiation between homeowners about which verandas need to be stepped back (Bhonsale). Aside from involvement of this ilk, MHT engineers make all the design decisions and submit the finished design to the community for approval. The design filter is a homogenizing one that descries independent sanitation decisions because they limit the overall effectiveness of upgrading projects. Wellfunctioning individual sanitation arrangements such as septic tanks and illegal sewer connections detract from a slum settlements willingness to pay for legal sewerage (Bhonsale), sewing discord in MHTs carefully cultivated communal consensus. In such cases, autonomous sanitation is not indicative of neglect, but an exercise of choice since slum households are given the opportunity to legally connect to sewerage systems. The recurring problem with autonomous decision-making is its obstruction of efficacy and efficiency in slum sewerage projects. It is much too costly to build a sewer system for a few households: in allowing some households the freedom to use autonomous sanitation, the high cost of sewering deprives other households of the freedom to choose to connect to sewers. Sewer systems built for a few paying households are vulnerable to illegal connections from non-paying households (Bhonsale), creating an unfair situation. Curtailing the freedom of one group permits the freedom of another, a political consequence that ecological urbanism enthusiasts do not sufficiently address when cherishing individual autonomy. One of Rod Burgess critiques of John Turners self-help housing points precisely to the presumption of equal access to autonomy. Slum dwellers who are free to build

Tam 19 their own homes do not often do so because they lack the time, skills, and resources. Most who are relatively moneyed hire skilled and semi-skilled workers to build for them, lowering costs of construction by using scavenged materials and hiring cheap, informal labour that exploits the poorest of the poor (Burgess 25). As such, selfhelp is selective in only allowing a particular group to benefit from its supposed freedom, and perpetuates exploitation of the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. In Parivartan, Turners freedom to build was relegated to toilet-building, where slum dwellers were fully responsible for designing and constructing their own toilets wherever they could find space to do so, and of whatever materials they could afford [figure 9]. No FIGURE 9: Bathrooms in Rajivnagar, Section 2 and Abhuji Kuwa construction guidelines Na Chhapra. They are often tucked under staircases or built as were given, with the extensions if there is space. assumption that slum dwellers are knowledgeable enough to construct what is appropriate (Bhonsale). As in Burgess critique, the burden of knowledge and skill was shifted from slum dwellers onto ununionized slum masons: most bathrooms are of a uniform size, configuration, and material palette, suggesting the hand of a single designer [figure 10]. They are typically external household appendages for lack of space and ease of connection to street sewers, the combination of stringent design constraints and a shared contractor resulting in cookie cutter bathrooms. The expected uniqueness of the selfbuilt is a pipe-dream emerging from a Western context where individuals have the luxury of space, time, and money to customize amenities to their liking. As Burgess puts it, freedom to build has come to mean freedom to contract (27), a transfer of labour that similarly occurs in the maintenance of household gully traps. FIGURE 10: Row of cookie cutter
bathrooms in Rajivnagar, Section 2.

Tam 20 Retained from Himanshu Parikhs original Slum Networking Project, slum dweller responsibility for gully trap maintenance manifests itself primarily as a financial responsibility. The Community-Based Organization treasurer in the Rajivnagar, Section 2 slum paid Rs. 200 to get her gully trap cleaned out in spring 2010 (Bohra). Slum dwellers hire others to clear gully traps not because they lack the skill or time to do so themselves, but because of cultural notions of pollution and purity. Entrenched caste structures assign tasks and occupations to particular groups, handling of garbage and excreta being allotted to Dalits7 because they are perceived to be polluted. Other castes are unwilling to contaminate themselves with performing such tasks, and Dalits untouchability bars them from pursuing clean occupations in a self-perpetuating cycle that restricts Dalits to menial tasks. The practice of casteism is enabled by the cheapness of informal labour, allowing even slum dwellers to hire Dalits for dirty tasks. The purported control given to slum dwellers in gully trap maintenance perpetuates casteism even among the disenfranchised. The power to make decisions about how a system is tended still resides in a select group. Even if Dalits are among those who receive sewerage through the Slum Networking Project, their autonomy is made meaningless by the lack of maintenance options available to them. They do not have the freedom to hire others to clean out their gully traps nobody else is willing to undertake such tasks. Without examining equality of access to the freedoms permitted by autonomy, a form of social Darwinism emerges where oppression is justified as the natural result of autonomous decisions. Oppression is imbued with an aura of inevitability that precludes external intervention in the name of individual freedom, an inevitability that erases personal responsibility for actions. Lack of personal responsibility reappears in the official management of Ahmedabads sewerage. While design and construction of the sewer system is centralized to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporations Drainage Department, maintenance of the system is decentralized to five (soon to be six) drainage zones: east, west, north, south, and central [figure 11, see next page]. Although manual scavenging has been nationally banned since the 1993 Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, Ahmedabads five zones still largely rely on manual maintenance (Pradeep), so much so that in 2006 the Gujarat High Court had to issue an order to stop manual maintenance (Krishnan). 24 manhole workers have died since the court order (Macwan; Pradeep), signalling its ineffectiveness. Efforts to adhere to the court order on the part of the central governing body have been lost upon decentralized implementation.
7 Following the evolving definition of Dalits, my usage of the term is not so much caste-specific as it is a designation for all groups that suffer from the atrocities of untouchability in the wake of the 1980 Ahmedabad riots (Reddy 553).

Tam 21

FIGURE 11: Ahmedabads 5 drainage zones (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department and Multi Media Consultants, Ahmedabad Drainage Network Map 2006, assembled by S. Tam)

NORTH ZONE CENTRAL ZONE

WEST ZONE

EAST ZONE

SOUTH ZONE

Tam 22 Since 1995, former head of the Drainage Department Jatin Mehta and his successor Mukesh Shah began redesigning Ahmedabads sewerage system to make it suitable for mechanical cleaning. Every third or fourth manhole was designed as a scraper manhole: a larger opening that buckets or super sucker machines can access for cleaning [figure 12]. In an effort to conform to the 1993 act, they pushed the city to acquire expensive super sucker machines (J. Mehta; Shah), but that design intention, alongside many others, has not been executed because of the large number of decision-makers involved between intention and realization. Kamdar Swasthya Suraksha Mandal (KSSM) is an organization that petitions for manhole workers rights, and states that all of the 1 foot equipment that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation claims to have purchased [table 1] FIGURE 12: Comparison of manhole types in have been in fact only rented. Ahmedabads Walled City. Scraper manholes (left) are They have found that many of rectangular and larger than regular manholes (right). the machines are too large to Dimensions are estimated. enter Ahmedabads narrow, older streets, that none of the equipment aside from the super sucker machines are effective, and that the super sucker is too strong for Ahmedabads corroded pipes, resulting in pipe breakages (Mishra). As such, manual cleaning is still regularly deployed from lack of other options.
1.5 feet 1 foot

Designed to be properly ventilated and to handle only sewage, the pipes accelerated corrosion is the work of autonomous agents who are ignorant of larger intentions. The original sewerage design calls for vent shafts [figure 13] at every 4th manhole in order to release lethal gases from the system. The system is completely dependent upon these shafts for ventilation, the designers having rejected perforated manhole covers for fear of releasing bad odours onto the street. Over time, 80% of shafts have been removed by autonomous agents, conjectured to be associated with

QUANTITY 2 16 2 6 2 6 12

DESILTING EQUIPMENT Super sucker machine Jetting and suction machine High flow jetting machine Gully emptier Grab bucket hydra Power rodding machine Grab bucket rickshaw

TABLE 1: Ahmedabad Municipal Corporations list of desilting equipment (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Data from SLB Results Workshop Presentation, 2009).

Tam 23 road construction projects (J. Mehta; Shah). Sealed into the system, carbon monoxide, methane, hydrogen sulphide, benzene, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and other hydrocarbons reach deadly levels (Dying to Keep Sewers Clean), accelerating pipe corrosion as well as killing manhole workers. Autonomous agents are also at work modifying the effluents flowing through the system. Solid waste is often dumped into toilets, mostly of an illicit nature: needles, broken bottles, sanitary pads, silver foil tobacco pouches, and liquor pouches (pothali) (Darokar) contribute to weakening and blocking up of pipes. Prohibition and Gujarat states conservative ethos leave perpetrators limited options for hiding evidence of their transgressions, toilets being one of the few private spaces where one is free to do what one wants. Moreover, industries FIGURE 13: One of the remaining take advantage of the accessibility of manholes to vent shafts in Navrangpura, depose corrosive effluents despite the 2001 GIDC Ahmedabad. Mega Projects provision of separate pipes, pumping stations, and treatment plants for industries (AMC City Development Plan 40). Individual decisions culminate in silting and pipe degradation because agents fail to relate the consequences of their actions to the larger system. In peripheral areas of the city where sewerage was laid prior to finalized town planning schemes, the freedom to settle became an obstacle to sewer maintenance. Sewer lines have disappeared beneath illegal housing, and manholes have become inaccessible due to superimposed structures and belligerent householders defending their territory (J. Mehta; Shah) [figure 14, see next page]. The situation is partly the result of phased construction, a feature of many ecological urbanist projects that emphasizes incompletion as a means of adapting to changing conditions over time. Underlying phased development are Western presumptions of project documentation and memory: subsequent phases are meant to build upon previous ones rather than counter them or cover them over. In the case of Ahmedabads sewerage, no comprehensive documentation exists, local linemen and inspectors being the sole repositories of manhole knowledge (J. Mehta; Shah). Sometimes sewers are laid before roads, leaving vacant aboveground land that invites encroachment (A. Parikh). At other times, roads are gradually covered over by illegal construction (J. Mehta; Shah). The sewers are forgotten by incumbent housing,

Tam 24 which has no commitment to city plans and no obligation to coordinate with previously built infrastructure. Larger project intentions are lost among competing self-interests that burgeon in the freedom granted by lapsed vigilance over public land.
FIGURE 14: Superimposition of sewerage plan on top of satellite image. Highlighted parts denote areas where sewerage is buried under informal development. Most of these belong to recent projects.

East Ahmedabad Project Phase II (19971999)

World Bank Credit 1280 IN (1979-1982) East Ahmedabad Project Phase II (1997-1999)

Main sewerage lines (AMC Drainage Department, 2006) Sewer lines no longer visible from satellite image (Google Maps, 2010)

Tam 25 Whereas the above examples of autonomous agency unintentionally result from lack of regulation and unenforced governance, autonomous agency is also used intentionally to displace responsibility. Maintenance of Ahmedabads sewerage is under the aegis of a multilayered administrative system that makes use of distended bureaucracy to instate decentralization. What was originally supposed to be the realization of a single intention through multiple bodies has resulted in multiple bodies each executing its own intentions. The 2006 Gujarat High Court order against manhole workers entering the sewers was given to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, but has been made ineffective through the dispersal of power. Each of the five drainage zones is divided into nine board offices, each of which is serviced by a contractor who hires the manhole workers [figure 15]. The contractors are an anonymous administrative stratum that maintains distance between manhole workers and board officials, the nature of contracted services further diffusing liability since workers are not legally affiliated with the city (Mishra). Whenever manhole workers perish on the job, decentralization is invoked by officials to evade blame. The tactic has so far been successful: there have never been any convictions in the death of manhole workers (Macwan).
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Zones East West Central North South

Board Offices Contractors

FIGURE 15: Administrative structure disperses maintenance responsibilities to a large number of actors, decreasing centralized control.

Decentralization gives manhole workers a disempowered autonomy that is similar to that of slum dwellers, a designation that 54.8% of manhole workers already answer to (Darokar). The supposed freedom of contract work is a ploy for depriving workers of basic rights such as workplace safety, minimum wage standards, and job security. Most work in nothing but a loincloth, diving into manholes with a bucket into which they load the excess sewage. It typically takes up to two hours to clear up a blocked manhole, two hours during which the divers are submerged in sewage with excreta entering their orifices, needles and broken glass piercing their bodies, and deadly gases burning their lungs. They toss a lit rag down manholes to check for gases, a primitive method that is inaccurate and dangerous given combustible gases in the

Tam 26 sewers (Dying to Keep Sewers Clean; Pradeep). Most manhole workers die between 35 to 40 years of age, suffering from leptospirosis, viral hepatitis, and typhoid (Anand; Pradeep). They are paid Rs. 50-100 per day depending on the number of manholes they are contracted to clean, a sum that is well below the Rs. 175 per day minimum wage. The workload is irregular and unevenly distributed, with work often performed at night when there is less road traffic and a lighter sewage load. Under the threat of being fired, they dare not refuse any jobs or complain about their conditions, sending their children to take their place if they become too ill to work. The youngest worker that Navsarjan fieldworkers have witnessed is fifteen years old. Most manhole workers are illiterate migrant farmers, lacking the capacity to procure government papers and gain legal citizenship (Anand; Mishra; Pradeep). As permanent outsiders to the system, they are excluded from the protection of its regulations, their autonomy being a form of vulnerability rather than empowerment. The plight of manhole workers is invisible to sewerage designers, all of 1 foot 8 inches 1 foot whom are adamant that nobody has been allowed to enter the sewers since the 2006 High Court order FIGURE 16: Comparison of Walled City manhole diameter (Bhonsale; J. Mehta; A. to human width. It is difficult to fit a grown person into a manhole, let alone a person equipped with an oxygen tank Parikh; H. Parikh; Shah). (human dimensions from Ernest Freest, reproduced from The court order actually Architectural Record, 27 February 2000). states that to the best of the civic bodys ability, mechanical means should be used to clean sewers and people kept out of manholes. It states that manual workers should be given safety equipment and should only enter manholes that have undergone water and gas tests, poor protective measures given the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporations interpretation of safety equipment as any mechanical cleaning tool (Macwan; Mishra). Indeed, all designers claim that their systems can be cleaned mechanically, many pointing to the odd 1.5 metre deep manhole that can be cleaned from without (Bhonsale; H. Parikh). Equipment designed to protect manhole workers is risible: oxygen cylinders, boots, face masks, and suits add so much weight and bulk that workers cannot fit into many a manhole that is barely accessible in the first place [figure 16] (Anand; Mishra). Appropriate gear does not exist. The dearth of maintenance considerations in the design of sewerage systems and the lack of effort in adapting safety gear to manhole workers needs attest to the exclusion of manhole workers from design service. Nobody is willing to take responsibility for the humans who actually inhabit sewer spaces, designers shrugging off the issue as something

Tam 27 that is out of their hands. They use decentralized control of sewerage maintenance to justify their refusal to design for manhole workers. The National Sanitation and Environment Improvement Foundation (NASA) and the Environmental Sanitation Institute (ESI) attempt to turn decentralization as Dalit exploitation into decentralization as Dalit agency. Funded independently by donors, NASA believes that by improving toilet design, dirty work can be reduced. With full-time engineers and field staff, it builds and operates a number of public pay-and-use toilets near bus depots and parks with humanised toiletcleaning conditions. Workers are given job security and support such as insurance policies, financial management through SEWA Bank (NASA website), and living arrangements on the second floor of public toilets [figure 17]. Instead of addressing the extant system, NASAs autonomous facilities offer Dalits job alternatives that allow them a narrow corridor of choice between manual scavenging and toilet cleaning. The Solanki family runs public toilets at the Subhash Bridge bus depot, cleaning three times a day and living off pay-and-use fees supplemented by NASA subsidies [figure 18]. With approximately 200 people frequenting their toilets, they make roughly Rs. 100-150 per day from toilet fees a paltry sum that is not tenable without additional subsidies. Having cleaned toilets for the past seven years in small communities, the family enjoys its current circumstances, feeling like it has a role to play in larger society (Parmar; Solanki). The Solankis gain a sense of agency in having the capacity to offer services to the public, although their toilets are private operations independent of the public sphere.

FIGURE 17: Subhash Bridge public toilets. The Solanki family lives on the second floor.

FIGURE 18: The eldest daughter of the Solankis cleaning one of the toilets.

Tam 28 Instead of autonomous businesses, the Environmental Sanitation Institute offers alleviation of Dalit conditions through autonomous sanitation practices. ESI promotes septic tanks and ecosanitation toilets in rural villages as alternatives to dry latrines, which need to be cleaned daily by Dalits. Autonomous sanitation facilities give their owners a sense of control that encourages personal responsibility for facility maintenance. ESIs rural visits teach hands-on cleaning to all in an effort to reduce outsourcing of dirty tasks to Dalits, acquainting villagers with the science behind hygiene to demystify dirt. It is after being coached in autonomous sanitation that villagers gain sufficient experience to approach governments for sewerage (Parekh). Securing independent sanitation on a small scale is a provisional phase in the move towards total sanitation, i.e. joining the citys system. Soak pits have a limited lifespan of one to two years depending on soil porosity, necessary maintenance and frequent replacement making them unattractive for long-term use (Parekh). That being said, most of Ahmedabads houses have soak pits because of delayed sewering (Bandyopadhyay), the rate of sewerage growth lagging behind that of the city until the 1950s. The historical expansion of Ahmedabads sewerage system is an example of unplanned growth, a demand-driven response to the citys expansion (see Appendix A). Its haphazard growth pattern answers to settlement patterns and available funding, constituting what Geddes would deem an organic relationship to the evolving needs of the people. Piecemeal and sporadic, few large expansions were made and documented until the late 1970s, with an occasional main line to collect sewage from household connections. However, unstructured growth lends itself to poor coordination and foresight, as seen in the doubled main line encircling Ahmedabads old city, one of which acts as a relief sewer for the original, undersized sewer (see A-1, 1962-1966 map). Yet the system remains centralized and does constitute the organic whole that Corner predicts. Since 1894, all the sewage has been directed to Pirana Sewage Farm, which has been eventually supplanted by a number of treatment plants. It is mirrored on the opposite bank of the Sabarmati by the Vasna Sewage Farm and treatment plants, together forming a nexus of plants that collects all of Ahmedabads sewage. While the overall topographic slant of Ahmedabad makes centralization of sewage treatment south of the city a rational choice, analysis of the citys natural drainage paths shows multiple other natural basins that could serve well as sewage collection points [figure 19, see next page]. Disincentives for decentralized sewage treatment include cost and real estate. Many of the natural depressions conducive to effluent collection are located in some of the earliest settled parts of the city, where land availability is scarce. Their location at the core of the city also makes them unlikely candidates for the stench of sewage treatment plants.

Tam 29

Natural basins

FIGURE 19: Natural basins are scattered throughout the city (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department contours, drainage paths by S. Tam).

Tam 30 The decision to respect the whole has obligated heavy usage of lifts and pumps to centralize sewage flow into the south part of the city. Because sewerage projects were mostly built a posteriori to settlements, they were constrained to follow existing roads, which for the most part follow natural drainage paths into the aforementioned basins. In order to engineer sewage flow into the south, pipe slopes had to diverge from natural topography, necessitating expensive, deep trenches that could only be circumvented via sewage pumping stations. The risk of mechanical failure and cost of maintenance increases with every sewage pumping station, the cost of routinely replacing old pumping stations absorbing a lot of funding that would otherwise have gone into expanding the network. The projected cost of replacing and building new pumping stations in the East Ahmedabad Phase II sewerage project (1997-1999) took up 35% of the budget, overshadowing the cost of a new sewage treatment plant (East Ahmedabad 8-16). The sewerage system is an artificially constructed organic whole, centralization being a design decision to accommodate a number of human variables (cost, settlement patterns, available land) rather than arising from ecological conditions. While mechanics can be pitted against gravitational forces at a cost, mechanics fail altogether to cope with anthropogenic forces, the designers purview being limited to handbook equations that fail to account for the vagaries of human behaviour. The Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisations Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment (CPHEEO) is the latest canonical handbook for Indias sewerage engineers (Bandyopadhyay), providing design guides that are poor advice for predicting behaviour. Instead of calculating sewage load according to the maximum number of people that can fit into a sewered area, the manual advises designing for a projected time period of 30 years. It proposes to calculate the sewage load according to land use patterns and zoning regulations as per the master plan (CPHEEO 38), poor indicators of actual loads in Ahmedabad where building regulations are unenforced and encroachment a common phenomenon. Design loads are therefore incommensurate with actual city loads, making them undersized, oversized, or even non-existent in areas that the master plan originally designated as non-residential but which have been encroached upon. The manuals recommendations for sizing sewers are likewise poorly formulated. Sizing sewers requires a careful negotiation between diameter and gradient to ensure that pipes can handle both present and future loads (H. Parikh). Present loads are usually less than future ones, resulting in present sewage velocities that are usually slower than future ones. As a result, the risk of silting in the initial years of a sewer is increased. Pipes must be designed with a diameter and slope that will allow for

Tam 31 present self-cleansing velocities, a design principle that is ignored in the CPHEEO manual. The manual instead advises designing only for sewage velocities in the future, assuming that flushing arrangements may be provided in the initial years (53) to guard against blockages. The directive is laughable given the citys inability to address actual blockages, which are much more urgent situations than preventative flushing. Ahmedabads annual pre-monsoon action plan is supposed to desilt the entire systems manholes and pipes, but is at best partially implemented (J. Mehta; Shah). In addition to lacking control over maintenance and settlement patterns, the designer lacks control over project execution. Project documents are often inaccurate to the system as built because they record intentions that were never executed. Documents for the East Ahmedabad Phase I project reveal a number of disparities between plans and executed parts, funding having run out after 70% of the project was executed (East Ahmedabad 4). In general, documentation quality is poor, confusing a water pumping station at Jawaharnagar with a sewage pumping station, and naming sewage pumping stations inconsistently (see Appendix B). Decentralization of power to various actors in infrastructural design hampers comprehensive documentation, multiple decision-makers interrupting each other, resulting in impenetrable muck (Lanier) if unchecked. DESIGNING FREEDOM Those who have ever valued liberty for its own sake believed that to be free to choose, and not to be chosen for, is an inalienable ingredient in what makes human beings human; and that this underlies [...] an area, artificially carved out, if need be, in which one is ones own master, a negative area in which one is not obliged to account for his activities to any man so far as this is compatible with the existence of organised society. Isaiah Berlin8 The freedom to choose and to have that choice respected is a bastion of any desirable society, but, as Berlin states, freedom must be compatible with the existence of organised society. In many international development projects, the fear of being accused of autocratic imposition has led to wholesale deployment of ecological urbanist principles without considering Berlins caveat. Freedom is cheapened into a byword divested of meaning and power, the conflation of agency with moral good leading to unregulated chaos.
8 Isaiah Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 60.

Tam 32 Agency needs to be distinguished from moral agency; the power to act is not equivalent to acting with others interests in mind. The World Banks Consultations with the Poor report (1999) observes that extreme deprivation engenders a sort of amoral familism (30), alienation of the poor from public life resulting in mistrust of collective endeavours. Under such conditions, the sudden empowerment of the poor without rehabilitation encourages further social fragmentation because the pursuit of self-interest lacks a moral dimension. The impact of autonomous agency upon Ahmedabads sewerage is clear: in the pursuit of self-interest, agents do not always respect others freedom to do the same. Giving people absolute autonomy is often the cause of neglect and oppression, exacerbating existing social inequalities as stronger groups subjugate weaker ones using individual freedom as justification. It is therefore crucial that ecological urbanist principles be deployed with caution in international development projects, and that designers understand the political context in which they build before prescribing open systems and user freedom. Different social backgrounds entail different kinds of freedom, without which existing inequalities are simply perpetuated. In order to empower the disenfranchised, limitations must be set upon those presently in power. Freedom comes at a political cost: as Maria Dimova-Cookson points out, people are both producers and recipients of freedom (524), and central authority is needed to negotiate that dialectic exchange. But can the designer really be blamed for such abstract political goods? Berlins area, artificially carved out where one is free suggests the need for a socially constructed space that will enable free acts. As Rancires distribution of the sensible points out, design is a socio-political construct that gives certain groups the power to design and the power to be served by design. In any project, one is implicitly designing freedom for a particular group, whether it is the freedom to inhabit, the freedom to enjoy the designed, or the freedom to co-create. As such, designers need to be mindful of who their audience is in order to ensure that they have the capacity to enjoy freedom, as well as to provide and protect that capacity.

Tam 33 BIBLIOGRAPHY Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Graphic Panel of Award Winning Projects from the Seventh Cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. 2007. PDF. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. 2009 Data from SLB Results Workshop. 31 March 2009. Print. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Slum Networking Project Pro Active Disclosure As Per RTI Act-2008. 2008. PDF. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. East Ahmedabad Sewerage Project Phase II. 1997. Print. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) with Technical Support from CEPT University. Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission: City Development Plan Ahmedabad 20062012. PDF. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department and Multi Media Consultants. Map of Existing and Proposed Ahmedabad Sewerage Network. Map. 2007. CAD file. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department and Multi Media Consultants. Map of Existing and Proposed Ahmedabad Storm Drainage Network. Map. 2006. CAD file. Anand, S. Life Inside A Black Hole. Tehelka Magazine 4 iss. 47 (December 2007). Anklesaria, Sarosh. Improving Urban Shantytowns. ArchitectureWeek.com. 28 August 2002. Web. 8 July 2010. Baird, George. Organicist Yearnings. The Space of Appearance. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995. Bakalian, Alexander et al. Simplified Sewerage: Design Guidelines. UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program. 1994. PDF. Bandyopadhyay, Saswat. Professor, CEPT University. Personal interview. 6 July 2010. Berlin, Isaiah. Four Essays on Liberty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969. Bhatt, Jayendra. The First Sewer in Ahmedabad. AmdaVadmA. 1980. Web.

Tam 34 Bhonsale, Bharati. Activity in-charge, Mahila Housing SEWA Trust. Personal interview. 8 July 2010. Bohra, Kokilaben. Personal interview. 9 July 2010. Burgess, Rod. Some Common Misconceptions About Self Help Housing Policies in Less Developed Countries. African Urban Affairs Quarterly 10.4 (Dec. 1987). CEPT University and Gujarat Ecology Commission. Environmental Assessment of Sabarmati Development. Environmental Planning Collaborative for the Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Limited. Proposal for Sabarmati Riverfront Development, Ahmedabad. 1998. Print. Chavez, Roberto, Julie Viloria and Melanie Zipperer. Interview of John C. Turner. World Bank. 11 September 2000. PDF. Corner, James. Ecology and Landscape as Agents of Creativity in Ecological Design and Planning. Ed. George F. Thompson and Frederick R. Steiner. 81-108. Corporation. Oxford English Dictionary. Online. Darokar, Shaileshkumar and H. Beck. Study on Practice of Manual Scavenging in the State of Gujarat. Mumbai: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 2006. Davidson, Cynthia C. Slum Networking of Indore City in Legacies for the Future: Contemporary Architecture in Islamic Societies. London: Thames and Hudson, 1998. 54-65. Dimova-Cookson, Maria. A New Scheme of Positive and Negative Freedom: Reconstructing T. H. Green on Freedom. Political Theory 31.4 (Aug. 2003): 508-532. Dying to Keep City Sewers Clean. Economic and Political Weekly, 23.40 (October 1988): 2046-2048. EuroIndia Centre. Ahmedabad City - Note. PDF. Ekram, Lailun Nahar. 1998 Technical Review Summary: Slum Networking of Indore City. May 1998. PDF. Freese, Ernest Irving. Dimensions of the Human Figure. Reproduced from Architectural Record. 27 February 2000. Web. 29 June 2010. Ganapati, S.V. et al. The Ecology of Solar Sewage Drying Beds in the Pirana Sewage Farm at Ahmedabad. Hydrobiologia. 26.1-2 (August 1965): 242-270.

Tam 35 Gautam, I. P. Mixing Financial Sources for Slum Upgrading/Prevention: Ahmedabad Slum Networking Programme India. June 2008. PDF. Jayangoudar, Indira S. et al. Rational Process Design Standards for Aerobic Oxidation Ponds in Ahmedabad, India. Journal (Water Pollution Control Federation) 42.8, Part 1 (August 1970): 1501-1514. Jayangoudar, India S. and S.V. Ganapati. Some Observations on the Use of Sewage Stabilization Lagoons in India. Hydrobiologia. 26.3-4 (November 1965): 331348. John, Paul. Gujarat is numero uno in river pollution. The India Times. 5 June 2010. Web. Karnani, Aneel. Romanticizing the Poor. Stanford Social Innovation Review (Winter 2009): 38-43. Krishnan, S. Ahmedabads man-eater manholes. DNA. 19 November 2009. Web. Kwon, Miwon. One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. Lanier, Jaron. Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism. Edge. org. 30 May 2006. Web. Lesser, Wendy. Patrick Geddes: The Practical Visionary. The Town Planning Review 45.3 (1974): 331-327. Levin, Laura and Kim Solga. Building Utopia: Performance and the Fantasy of Urban Renewal in Contemporary Toronto. The Drama Review 53.3: 37-53. Luccarelli, Mark. Defining Regionalism in Lewis Mumford and the Ecological Region: The Politics of Planning. New York: Guilford Press, 1995. 22-33. Macwan, Manish. The Death Manual. The Sunday Indian. 31 January 2009. Web. Mahila Housing SEWA Trust. My Home is My Workplace. Ahmedabad: Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, 2009. PDF. Mara, Duncan. Low-cost Urban Sanitation. Chichester: Wiley, 1996. Mara, Duncan. Low-cost sewerage in Health Promotion. WHO (1998): 249-262.

Tam 36 Mara, Duncan. Water Sector in Small Urban Centres: Water Supply and Sanitation Options for Small Urban Centres in Developing Countries. UN-Habitat Human Settlements Programme. 2006. PDF. Mara, Duncan and Jeff Broome. Sewerage: a return to basics to benefit the poor. Proc. of the Inst. of Civil Engineers. Municipal Engineer 161 iss. ME4 (December 2008): 231-237. Mehta, Jatin. Engineer, former head of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department. Personal interview. 13 July 2010. Mehta, M. C. Former city engineer, Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation. Personal interview and sketches. 4 June 2010. Melo, Jose Carlos. The Experience of Condominial Water and Sewerage Systems in Brazil: Case Studies from Brasilia, Salvador and Parauapebas. World Bank. 2005. PDF. Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. Manual on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment (Second Edition). 1993. PDF. <http://urbanindia.nic.in/ publicinfo/manual_sewage.htm> Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. National Sanitation Policy. 2009. PDF. <http://urbanindia.nic.in/programme/uwss/NUSP.pdf> Mishra, Ashish. Kamdar Swasthiya Suraksha Mandal. Personal interview. 28 June 2010. National Sanitation and Environment Improvement Foundation. National Sanitation and Environment Improvement Foundation. 2008. Web. August 2010. <http://www.nasafoundation.org/aboutus.html> Nohn, Matthias. Extract of 2007 NIUA Study: The Habitat and Employment of Ahmedabads Poor. 2007. PDF. Parikh, Apurva. Director, Multi Media Consultants. Personal interview. 5 July 2010. Parikh, Himanshu. Engineer, Slum Networking Project, Aga Khan Award Recipient. Personal interview. 2 July 2010. Parikh, Himanshu. Aga Khan Award for Architecture Architects Record. 1998. PDF. Parikh, Himanshu. Drawings of Slum Networking of Indore City. 1998. PDF.

Tam 37 Parikh, Himanshu. Photographs of Slum Networking of Indore City. 1998. PDF. Parikh, Himanshu, Presentation panels of Slum Networking of Indore City. 1998. PDF. Parekh, Devendra. Environmental Sanitation Institute. Personal interview. 13 July 2010. Parmar, Suresh. Environmental Sanitation Institute. Personal interview. 13 July 2010. Pradeep, Manjula. Executive Director, Navsarjan Trust. Personal interview. 24 June 2010. Rancire, Jacques. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Trans. Gabriel Rockhill. New York: Continuum, 2004. Reddy, Deepa S. The Ethnicity of Caste. Anthropological Quarterly 78.3 (Summer 2005): 543-584. Russ, Laura. Misaligned Expectations for Participatory Slum-Upgrading: Lessons for Sustainability of the Ahmedabad Slum Networking Project. UCLA School of Public Affairs, Urban Planning. 2010. PDF. Sapovadia, Vrajlal. A Critical Study of Urban Land Ownership by an Individual vis--vis Institutional (or Community) Based Ownership The Impact of Type of Ownership on Spatial Growth, Efficiency and Equity: A Case Study of Ahmedabad, India. Urban Research Symposium 2007. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2007. SEWA Academy. Parivartan and Its Impact: A Partnership Programme of Infrastructure Development in Slums of Ahmedabad City. January 2002. PDF. Shah, Mukesh. Engineer, former head of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department. Personal interview. 13 July 2010. Solanki, Kanti and Lalita. NASA public toilet caretakers. Personal interview. 13 July 2010. Stanwix, Benjamin. Urban Slums in Gujarat and Rajasthan: Study of Basic Infrastructure in Seven Cities. Mahila Housing SEWA Trust. 2009. PDF. Tilley, Elizabeth et al. Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). 2008. PDF.

Tam 38 Turner, John. Interview of John C. Turner. World Bank, Washington, D.C. 11 September 2000. PDF. Vadya, Chetan and Brad Johnson. Ahmedabad Municipal Bond: Lessons and Pointers. Economic and Political Weekly 36.30 (2001): 2884-2891. World Banks Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network. Consultations with the poor: Brazil National Synthesis Report. May 1999. PDF.

Tam A-1

APPENDIX A

HISTORICAL GROWTH OF AHMEDABADS FORMAL SEWERAGE SYSTEM


The mapping project is indebted to Mukesh Shah and Jatin Mehta, whose endless patience in editing and re-editing CAD map after CAD map was invaluable. The 2007 base map used is courtesy of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporations Drainage Department and Multi Media Consultants. It was supplemented by the East Ahmedabad Sewerage Project Phase II map, also courtesy of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporations Drainage Department. While there is a lot of conjecture as to when and where sewer lines were actually laid, pumping station locations and dates were verified by Shah and Mehta, and there is relatively good documentation of sewage farms and treatment plants. The built area of the city is estimated from maps in the AMC City Development Plan and the EuroIndia Centers note on Ahmedabad. SOURCES: Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. East Ahmedabad Sewerage Project Phase II. 1997. Print. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) with Technical Support from CEPT University. Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission: City Development Plan Ahmedabad 2006-2012. PDF. Bhatt, Jayendra. The First Sewer in Ahmedabad. AmdaVadmA. 1980. Web. EuroIndia Centre. Ahmedabad City - Note. PDF. Jayangoudar, India S. and S.V. Ganapati. Some Observations on the Use of Sewage Stabilization Lagoons in India. Hydrobiologia. 26.3-4 (November 1965): 331-348. Mehta, Jatin. Personal interview. Former head of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department. 13, 17 and 22 July 2010. Shah, Mukesh. Personal interview. Former head of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Drainage Department. 13, 17 and 22 July 2010.

Tam A-2

1890
First sewers laid by textile mogul Rancchodlal Chotalal.
Sewage pumping station Pumping station beyond city boundaries Already built sewer lines Newly built sewer lines Conjectured sewer lines built / newly built *The Pirana Sewage Farm plan shown is the 1965 expansion, not the original footprint.

1894
Pirana Sewage Farm built, using sewage for irrigation*.

1931
Entire Old City is sewered. First main line laid encircling the Old City.

Tam A-3

1933-1941
Expansion to the north and east. New pumping station added.

1952-1955
Main line laid in West Ahmedabad.

1962-1966
Second main line laid encircling the Old City.

Tam A-4

1970
Vasna Sewage Treatment Plant built.

1975
Pirana Sewage Treatment Plant built.

1979-1982
Project funded by World Bank Credit 1280 IN. R.C.C. duct laid along periphery.

Tam A-5

1983-1986
First industrial sewage pumping station built in eastern periphery.

1986-1995
Project funded by World Bank Credit 1643 IN. Second Pirana sewage treatment plant built.

1997-1999
East Ahmedabad Project, Phase II

Tam A-6

2001
GIDC Mega Project to collect and treat industrial effluents on eastern periphery.

2002-2004
National River Conservation Project, Phase I. Renovated pumping stations.

2008-2010
Additional sewage treatment plants, terminal pumping stations and new industrial effluent treatment plants.

Tam B-1

APPENDIX B

PROCESS WORK: DOCUMENTING THE HISTORY OF AHMEDABADS SEWERAGE


The following documentation attempts to convey the various ambiguities, errors, contradictions, and misinformation that were encountered during the process of mapping the historical growth of Ahmedabads sewerage system. Mukesh Shah and Jatin Mehtas knowledge is considered the most accurate source of information, against which all other sources have been compared. A lot of inaccuracies are due to planned sewerage projects that were not fully executed. Documentation tends to reflect only planned projects, with little a posteriori documentation of what was actually executed. There is also a lot of confusion over sewage pumping station names, many of which have similar names or are called by a secondary name in certain documents but not in others. Pumping station construction projects do not clearly state if they are reconstruction projects or new construction projects, making it difficult to determine what existed at the time. Pumping stations acquire prefixes of old and new from map to map while appearing at different locations, making it difficult to ascertain if what is an old pumping station in one map is the same unprefixed pumping station in another.

Tam B-2

SPS: Sewage Pumping Station EAPII: East Ahmedabad Project Phase II

Tam B-3

SEWAGE PUMPING STATION AMBIGUITIES IN WRITTEN ACCOUNTS

Refers to Maninagar SPS Text is incorrect. These are pumping stations, not oxidation ponds.

Refers to Maninagar SPS Never built. Only a water pumping station is at Jawaharnagar. Refers to Shanti Van (Paldi) SPS

Tam B-4

Document by Mukesh Shah in response to SPS and STP list by S. Tam, after the EAPII written report. Shahs changes to the original SPS and STP list are noted by S. Tam.

STP: Sewage Treatment Plant

Tam B-5

Tam B-6

Tam B-7