Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy


Through a process of devolution to private enterprises, a number of private cities are emerging across the Indian landscape. While private cities have been lauded by some as symbolic of a modern, global India, their impact on the nature of democracy and citizenship in the emerging city remains a contentious issue.

The picturesque city of Lavasa is located in the western hill range of India between the cities of Mumbai and Pune. Lavasa is an amalgamation of twenty villages encompassing seven hills and, on completion, will have an area of 100 sq km. The city is representative of a rapidly urbanising India, with one crucial difference – there is no democratic electoral process at the city-level. Lavasa is governed by Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL), a private enterprise. This arrangement has resulted in a unique form of governance that challenges the notions of democracy and citizenship in the Indian context. 

Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy

Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy


Through a process of devolution to private enterprises, a number of private cities are emerging across the Indian landscape. While private cities have been lauded by some as symbolic of a modern, global India, their impact on the nature of democracy and citizenship in the emerging city remains a contentious issue.

The picturesque city of Lavasa is located in the western hill range of India between the cities of Mumbai and Pune. Lavasa is an amalgamation of twenty villages encompassing seven hills and, on completion, will have an area of 100 sq km. The city is representative of a rapidly urbanising India, with one crucial difference – there is no democratic electoral process at the city-level. Lavasa is governed by Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL), a private enterprise. This arrangement has resulted in a unique form of governance that challenges the notions of democracy and citizenship in the Indian context. 

Creating subjects in Lavasa: the private city | openDemocracy


Right to Comfort

  • the belief that those with power have a right to emotional and psychological comfort (another aspect of valuing ëlogicí over emotion)
  • scapegoating those who cause discomfort
  • equating individual acts of unfairness against white people with systemic racism which daily targets people of color

antidotes: understand that discomfort is at the root of all growth and learning; welcome it as much as you can; deepen your political analysis of racism and oppression so you have a strong understanding of how your personal experience and feelings fit into a larger picture; don’t take everything personally

This is particularly important.


Right to Comfort

  • the belief that those with power have a right to emotional and psychological comfort (another aspect of valuing ëlogicí over emotion)
  • scapegoating those who cause discomfort
  • equating individual acts of unfairness against white people with systemic racism which daily targets people of color

antidotes: understand that discomfort is at the root of all growth and learning; welcome it as much as you can; deepen your political analysis of racism and oppression so you have a strong understanding of how your personal experience and feelings fit into a larger picture; don’t take everything personally

This is particularly important.