Nature of Problem
Land in Delhi is used for a variety of purposes among which residential land use is most important. It accounts for a large part of built-up area of the city with varying patterns of population density and housing quality. Being the largest user of space, residential houses are heterogeneous, immobile, complicated and expensive. The houses are occupied by households belonging to different social and economic classes, depending on their capacity to pay the housing market. Therefore, in Indian cities, the segregation of people into different neighbourhoods on the basis of social characteristics, such as ethnicity, occupation or income is a fairly common feature. The spatial distribution of housing characteristics, the nature of housing markets and the neighbourhood communities within cities have become one of the major research foci of urban social geography (Cadwallader, 1996, p. 241).
Over the last three decades, most cities in India, including Delhi, have experienced residential and social polarization in the built-environment and social space resulting into slums and squatter settlements and highstatus residential areas. The net result has been massive inequality and increasing intolerance. Our cities are becoming more divided, increasingly segregated and differentiated across the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, class and power (Del Casino, 2009, p. 1). Social geographers are interested in these issues because they deal with organization and contestation of space (Del Casino, 2009, p. 2).