Ananya Roy lecture: Governing the Slum

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning welcomed Professor Ananya Roy in November 2015, who gave a lecture to the gathered audience titled ‘Governing the Slum’. 

Ananya Roy is Professor of City and Regional Planning and Distinguished Chair in Global Poverty and Practice at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously held the Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Professor Roy teaches in the fields of urban studies and international development, she also serves as Education Director of the Blum Centre for Developing Economies.


An icon of Third World urban poverty, the slum has been both vilified as a persistent problem and celebrated as a populist expression of the informal economy. But more recently, new approaches to the slum have begun to emerge. Focusing on the example of India’s Slum-Free Cities program, this talk examines such emergent paradigms, situating them in the broader context of global urbanism and global development. Instead of interpreting these policies as instances of a generic neoliberalism, attention is paid to the complex agenda of governing poor populations and spaces of poverty. Such programs of government are being launched in a rearranged world, one in which sustained economic crisis in the North Atlantic exists alongside ambitious claims of inclusive growth in the global South and its new geopolitical formations. But these South-North geographies are also being reconfigured through networks of poor people’s movements, many of them concerned with life in the slum. The talk suggests that critical urban theory and justice-oriented planning can be enriched by heeding the insights provided by such global interconnections.