Kolkata Jute Mills

This project studies the remediation of industrial decline and potential for post-industrial redevelopment, using the case of West Bengal’s jute industry in India. The jute industry has long played an important role in the economic, physical, and social development of the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). Political turmoil, limited capital, and synthetic fibers have left the industry in decline. Currently, jute mills exist in semi-operational states on valuable land along the Hooghly River running N-S through KMA. The rehabilitation of these jute mill buildings and land holds substantial potential to aid KMA municipalities in meeting demands for affordable housing, economic revitalization, regional ecological and open space, and socially equitable development. 

This project is in cooperation with Professor Siddhartha Sen from Morgan State University. Together, through semi-structured interviews, site analysis, and data collection, we analyze challenges that impede the reuse of jute mill manufacturing compounds, as well as potentials for redevelopment. Through collaboration with relevant actors in KMA such as jute mill owners, policy and planning experts, real estate developers, and architects, we are working to elucidate policy and development barriers and propose resolutions to critical urban brownfield redevelopment issues in the Global South. Findings from this research will be presented in one to two peer-reviewed papers and will be shared with stakeholders through a white paper.