Kolkata, the metropolitan city of India, is popularly known as the ‘City of Joy’. The location of
Kolkata is in a very advantageous position as the river Ganges flow. The city of Kolkata, a 300-
year-old city, is located in the eastern part of India at 22°82?N, 88°20?E. It has spread linearly
along the banks of the river Hooghly. Kolkata was the first major city developed by the British
East India Company in the early 1700s. The city ultimately evolved into a provincial city and
eventually became the headquarters of the British India government. This established a level of
importance for the city and stimulated significant growth in size over the years. The magnitude
of its population, its volume of trade and commerce, the avenues of employment that it offers,
the variety of its inhabitants speaking diverse languages that give it a cosmopolitan character.
The history of the growth of Kolkata city at the core and a greater Kolkata region which has
grown along the river Hooghly. For ease of understanding the structure of the core and the
region, it is worthwhile to mention the two administrative areas, the Kolkata Municipal
Corporation area (KMC), representing the core and the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA),
representing the region. While the KMC area is 185 Sq.Kms and has a population of 4.5 million,
the area of KMA is 1850 Sq.Kms with a population of 14 million, both according to the census
data of 2001. The present paper works at three different scales. It works at
The regional (represented by the KMA),
The periphery of the core city of Kolkata and
The core city itself, the KMC area
The development in these areas has been guided by the presence of many state agencies, who
have contributed to the development of the city structure. Historically, agencies such as the
Calcutta Improvement Trust (CIT), the Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organisation (CMPO)
have guided the development of the city region, through varied thrusts which differed with each
organization and also with time. Presently, KMDA, a statutory authority functioning under the
administrative control of Urban Development Department of Government of West Bengal has
the mandate of working in tandem with the elected Urban Local bodies (ULBs) toward the
overall development of KMA.
This article highlights the evolution of city form and its history.