Search publications, data, projects and authors
Spatial structures in India in the age of globalisation : a data-driven approach



ID: <10670/1.50zxa5>


Countries that have experienced a delayed entry within the world economy have usually sustained an enhanced and faster globalisation process. This is the case for BRIC countries which are, compared to other emerging countries, organised on large economies and thus provide a stronger potential market. From this perspective, India appears to be the perfect case study with an economic growth expected to overcome China’s growth in the near future. However, the «clichés» are persistent within a country mostly depicted as bipolar. On the one hand, it is considered as a new eldorado, the «Shining India», a place where multinationals aim to implement themselves due to the substantial increase of the consumer market. At the same time, India is also characterised by overcrowding, the major presence of slum areas and mass poverty, both in urban and rural areas. It is indeed possible that some areas will accommodate a bigger and bigger share of the growing middle class, while others will accentuate economic and social inequalities. Yet, can these extremes be truly representative of the diversity of such a large country? In fact, in some urban oriented spaces, the evolution of the tertiary sector is not strong enough to maintain a high level of employment while in rural spaces; an intensive farming model contributes to gradually reducing the number of labourers and landowners. As a result, the increase of the standard of living related to both economic and demographic growth is not homogeneously distributed over a territory where socio-economic divisions are already made worse by a tight caste system. With evidence dating back to 2400 BCE, it must be remembered that India is a country of old urbanisation. This has given rise to a rich and complex history and India is now home to a variety of languages, religions, castes, communities, tribes, traditions, urbanisation patterns and, more recently, globalisation-related dynamics. Perhaps no other country in the world seems to be characterised by such a great diversity. This begs the following questions: how is it possible to quantify and visualise the spatial gap of such a complex and subcontinent sized country? What are the main drivers affecting this spatial gap? It would indeed be simplistic to study India only through macro-economic indicators such as GDP. To deal with this complexity, a conceptualisation has been performed to strictly select 55 criteria that can affect the transformation sustained by the Indian territory in this enhanced age of globalisation. These selected factors have fed a multi-critera database characterised by aspects coming from economy, geography, sociology, culture etc. at the district scale level (640 spatial units) and on a ten year timeframe (2001-2011). The assumption is as follows: each Indian district can be driven by different factors. The human capacity to understand a complex issue has been reached here since we cannot take into account and at the same time the behaviour of a large number of elements influencing one another. AI Based Algorithm methods (Bayesian and Neural Networks) have thus been resorted to as a good alternative to process a large number of factors. In order to be as accurate as possible and to keep a transversal point of view, the methodology is divided into a robust procedure including fieldwork steps. The results of the models show that the 55 factors interact, bringing the emergence of unobservable factors representative of broader concepts, which find consistency only in the case of India. It also shows that the Indian territory can be segmented into a multitude of sub-spaces. Some of these profiles are close to the caricatured India. However, in most cases, results show a heterogeneous country with sub-spaces possessing a logic of their own and far away from any cliché.

Your Feedback

Please give us your feedback and help us make GoTriple better.
Fill in our satisfaction questionnaire and tell us what you like about GoTriple!