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Skyscrapers — but no sewage system. Meet a city run by private industry


What happens when a city is managed almost completely by private corporations? Visit Gurgaon, India, a boomtown of millions without a citywide system for water, electricity or even public sewers.

The city of Gurgaon, roughly a half-hour’s drive south of New Delhi, has survived without a functioning municipal government for roughly four decades. If the city of 2 million residents needs to pave a road, or hire police, firefighters or garbage collectors, a patchwork of private companies makes it happen. Or … not.

“It’s a weird place,” says Shruti Rajagopalan, an economist at SUNY Purchase who grew up a short drive away from Gurgaon. She co-authored, with her colleague Alex Tabarrok, a 2014 study of its strange inner workings. “It shouldn’t exist, theoretically.” And yet, the city is a magnet for India’s middle class. The population has swelled by more than 1,600 percent over the past 25 years. “People are just clamoring to move to Gurgaon,” she says.

Read full story at TED


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