By Rakesh Prabhu The marble counter in an Indian slum in the southern city of Kochi has become a symbol of the poor living conditions of many Indian cities.
In the last two decades, the marble counter has been transformed from a makeshift furniture and kitchen item to a centerpiece in many households in Mumbai, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Marble has also become an essential component of many homes in the country’s capital.
The marble counter is a relic of the days of poverty, when poor people would sit on benches or wooden stools in the slums, and use the marble floor as their dining area.
In the 1990s, the city of Hyderabad built the first marble counter, in which people would set up tables with marble tiles.
The marble counters are now commonplace in many Indian slums.
According to Dr Rajiv Kumar, a professor of urban planning and planning at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, this trend is partly a result of the economic reforms of the 1980s, and partly a reflection of the rise of urbanisation in the city.
“We have seen the urbanisation of many countries and a huge rise in population, and we have seen in the cities in India a lot of growth in housing.
But the development of urban areas, particularly in the form of roads, the urban areas have become less developed,” said Kumar.
“In the 1970s, in Hyderabad, there was one marble counter and now there are about five marble counters in the capital.
That has been the case in other cities too.
In Mumbai, there are many marble counters, and in the neighbouring city of Kolkata, there is a marble counter.
These are just the examples.”
But in a country where nearly one in five people are living in poverty, there have been calls for changes to the urban development model, which focuses on urban development for a limited number of people at a time.
In his book, The New Urbanism, Dr Kumar says that the growth of poverty has affected the city’s architectural design.
“We have a large population living in these poor neighbourhoods, but we have never seen a lot in the architectural design of the city,” he said.
“When you look at the architecture of the urban cities, there has been a lot for the rich, but there is no great architecture for the poor.
So there has always been this imbalance in the architecture, and it is also affecting the living conditions in the poorer areas,” said Dr Kumar.
The New Urbanist says that there is little evidence that urban development has changed the way in which many poor people live in the Indian slumps.
“The fact is that many people living in slums have to work, which makes them very poor,” said Keshav Bhattacharya, the author of the book.
“The way they work is they are in a substandard job, so they have to use whatever is left to survive.
They are forced to eat in poor restaurants or go to the garbage dumps,” said Bhattocharya.
“But that is a sign of the way people are treated.
The poor have to live in substandard conditions and in squalid conditions,” he added.
Bhattochary’s book argues that the rise in urbanisation has not been accompanied by a dramatic change in the urban infrastructure, which is why people are not living in more urban areas.
“When you take away the urban planning model, the lack of housing, sanitation, electricity, roads and highways are all still there,” said Gauri Gupta, a co-author of the article.
“This is a massive imbalance in terms of development.
We need to think about how we are going to fix this imbalance,” she added.