Lavasa is a private city built from the scratch in India. The name itself has no meaning, a product of a US-based marketing firm.
The name Lavasa is the invention of a US branding firm, having no meaning, but meant to conjure up images of mystery and exoticism with its abstract poeticism and hint at Hindi. (Guardian)
Conceptually, it is not much different than the branded housing projects in Istanbul. But the scale is different. So far the largest branded housing project aims to reach 20 000 population, however, Lavasa aims to accommodate 300 000!
When fully built, Lavasa intends to consume 100 sq km – about the size of Cardiff or Brighton and Hove in the UK – and will cater to a total population of up to 300,000 in five “towns” built on seven hills. The first of these is Dasve, which is still under construction after delays the development’s planners blame on government approval being temporarily withdrawn shortly after building started. (Guardian)
Well… When we look at the promotional material it is even getting more juicy:
energetic yet calm, aspirational yet affordable, hi-tech yet simple and urban yet close to naturean
Yes, of course, another magic-wand-development!
Check this one out:
Driven by an obsession with its customers
This is very clear. In such a town, you are not a resident, but a customer. If you are willing to live there, you have to accept your position as a customer. Because it is driven by an obsession with its customers!
Yet this is a very sincere statement since Lavasa is run by a corporation. Instead of a major, it has a city manager who is appointed by the board of Lavasa Corporation.
The company aims to control every aspect of rights and life:
“The company has sweeping rights over nearly all aspects of the life of the residents,” warned Persis Taraporevala, a researcher at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi in a 2013 article. “It has the right to evict, to tax, to determine the use and design of land, to change the governing body and to change the rules while controlling the rights of people to object to these processes.” (Guardian)
See this article for more.
In addition to transforming every aspect of daily life to a commodity, this corporate development claims that it is an “enterprise that will redefine the very notion of a city as we know it“. Wait, hold on, an enterprise that will redefine the very notion of a city!
Isn’t this outrageous, yet bold!
How can this product redefine the very notion of a city which is defined by ages of social production?
(Image Credit: Guardian)