International Development Planning Review

The politics of infrastructural aesthetics: a case of Delhi’s Bus Rapid Transit corridor

International Development Planning Review (2021), 43, (4), 479–500.


This paper studies how transportation infrastructure projects are dependent on making aesthetic arguments through form, space and experience. It does this through a discourse analysis of the media coverage of the Delhi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor. Tracing the planning history of the BRT, it explores how it was construed as ineffective, expensive and dangerous. Deconstructing the BRT discourse, the authors make two propositions about the politics of transport infrastructure; its truth claims must be aesthetic arguments, and transformational agendas must be coupled with a distinctive aesthetic. The paper concludes by suggesting that a renewed and situated understanding of aesthetics is critical for urban practitioners, especially in the global South.

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Author details

Oommen, Thomas

Sequeira, Ryan Christopher