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Thread: Zoning-related riots in India

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
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    Zoning-related riots in India

    From the London Times

    Riots kill two as outlawed shopkeepers fight closures
    From Jeremy Page in Delhi
    AT LEAST two people, including a seven-year-old boy, were killed when thousands of shopkeepers rioted in Delhi yesterday in protest against attempts to shut down illegal businesses in residential areas.

    Much of the Indian capital ground to a halt as police used teargas and batons to disperse the crowds, who set up roadblocks and lit bonfires in some of the worst street violence in the city in recent years. Dozens of police were injured and more than 100 people were detained. The riot highlighted the mounting tension between business and government in Delhi, where a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy is struggling to keep pace with breakneck economic growth. Most businesses are banned from operating in residential areas under antiquated zoning restrictions dating back to a city master plan drawn up in 1961. [snip]
    There's also an article in the International Herald Tribune.

    When I lived in southern New Mexico, and crossed the Mexican border, I noticed that illegal businesses were everywhere. A common sight were blocks of rowhouses interrupted with a single unit, the exterior surfaces painted bright yellow, with a huge "BARDAHL" sign painted across the front; it seemed that one person in 20 operated a quick lube shop out of their homes. Yes, Juarez has zoning, and the city's zoning map didn't loo much different than what you would see in a typical American or Canadian city. Planners I met from Juarez fretted about these very intrusive home occupations. They were almost powerless to stop it, because they had almost no enforcement powers.

  2. #2
    In many poor countries, illegal businesses are the only way to survive. Hernando de Soto calls it the "informal economy", which is to say a black market not officially recognized by the government. The reason is usually that it is too expensive to do business legitimately (up to a year of full time work and several thousand dollars in bribes to get a legal business license).

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