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Reading: Changing Cities and Changing Lives: Development Induced Displacement in Kochi, Kerala


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Changing Cities and Changing Lives: Development Induced Displacement in Kochi, Kerala


Ann George ,

Union Christian College, Aluva, Kerla, IN
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Irudaya Rajan

Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, IN
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In the recent two decades, post liberalisation, the landscapes of Kochi city, (a city in Ernakulam, the central district of the state of Kerala, India) and its suburbs are witnessing fast changes with the launch of several mega projects. As the city and its suburbs are reinventing, this paper examines the lives of those people most affected by these changing geographies, namely those displaced by the projects. We specifically examine the poverty, inequality and violence nexus associated with displacement which was noted in other parts of India. It is interesting to examine this question in context of Kerala, as the state has received much acclaim for its pro-poor and pro- public approach and people have received some acclaim for their public action. It would be relevant to see whether the experiences of displaced would be similar or different in such a state. Both quantitative and qualitative methods of enquiries were used.

Our quantitative survey revealed that poverty, inequality (within the locality) and violence and physical safety did not emerge as significant concerns. What emerged as poignant concern was the different forms of state violence- be it in terms of brute force or in terms of indifference, negligence, inefficiencies leading to great deal of unnecessary suffering for the displaced. Our qualitative interviews also revealed people’s remarkable agency as they struggled and agitated to get a fair compensation. In the urban or urbanising context of city and its suburbs, where fundamental conflicts over land acquisition is found as coming down, people would be willing to bear the hardships of displacement and resettlement if the rehabilitation package allows them to settle even a little better. The state, which claims to be pro-people would well have avoided the unnecessary suffering of the displaced.

Cities People Places: International Journal on Urban Environments Vol.1(1) 2015: 1-18

How to Cite: George, A. and Rajan, I., 2015. Changing Cities and Changing Lives: Development Induced Displacement in Kochi, Kerala. Cities People Places : An International Journal on Urban Environments, 1(1), pp.1–18. DOI:
Published on 17 Oct 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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