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Friday Eye Candy: India's Rapid Urbanization

Photographer and architect Lars Mortensen captured the new face of urbanization in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi. The scales involved are unprecedented, and rich and poor live in close proximity.
February 19, 2016, 5am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Non-western powers like China and India are undertaking massive, picturesque, sometimes-terrifying urbanization projects. "'Gurgaon embodies all the aspirations of India's urbanization,' says Danish photographer and architect Lars Mortensen. 'At the same time, [it] explicitly reveals the thin, crackling façade and the monumental problems—both social and environmental—urban India has to deal with.'"

The scale of India's urbanizing population dwarfs all historical comparison. "The number of people living in India's cities has soared from 62 million in 1951 to 429 million today, a trend that shows no sign of abating."

The pace of development, endless demand for housing, and inevitable local delays in construction have produced a landscape unlike any other. "In Gurgaon, high-rise apartments behind tall walls had paved roads that ended abruptly at the property's boundary. [...] 'With such intense development, quite a few projects simply fall by the wayside,' Mortensen says. 'Sometimes it is simply hard to tell whether something is being constructed or whether it is slowly deteriorating.'"

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Published on Friday, January 29, 2016 in Wired
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