Work-walks and walkscapes: Women domestic workers’ lived experiences and contexts of mobility in Lima and Mumbai

Project Leader: Burte Himanshu 
Centre for Urban Science and Engineering (CUSE), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-B) Powai, Mumbai, India.


  • Malini Krishnankutty, Urban Planner, Adjunct Associate Professor, CUSE, IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400076, Maharashtra, India
  • Nisha Nair Gupta, PhD Scholar, CUSE, IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400076 Maharashtra, India
  • Mumbai Collaborating Organisation: CORO India, Mumbai – 400 071, Maharashtra, India. (Contact: Dr. Sujata Khandekar, Founder-Director)
  • Luis Rodriguez Rivero, Principal Professor and Research Centre Director CIAC, PUCP, Lima, Peru
  • Daniel Ramírez Corzo. PhD Scholar. Lecturer and researcher at PUCP, Lima – Peru
  • Fanel Contreras Guevara. Lecturer and researcher at PUCP, Lima – Peru
  • Lima Collaborating Organisation: CARE-Perú, Lima – Peru


Walking practices are understudied in general, but qualitative understanding of the walking practices related to work – walking to, or for work – is especially weak in the literature. Northern contexts predominate in walking studies, as does voluntary walking. However, in Southern cities, ‘captive pedestrians’ visibly predominate on the ground, especially those walking for work. Therefore, this proposal focuses on the ‘work-walk’ – walking practice associated with work – in cities in the Global South (addressing mainly, Theme 2 of the CFP).

Women domestic workers (WDWs) are among the most ubiquitous but invisible of workers in the city, who rely on walking to access work. We thus, propose a comparative, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and mixed-methods study of the ‘work-walk’ of women domestic workers, in two Southern cities, Mumbai (India) and Lima (Peru). This would be analysed in relation to the ‘walkscape,’ or the physical and policy landscape that conditions it in each city. Specifically, we propose to study a) the lived and practiced walking of individual WDWs in each city and its larger, local patterns, and b) how the specific contours of policy, governance, planning and urban management create the walkscape that shapes the experience of WDWs’ work-walks.

A comparative analysis of these findings, that accounts for similarities and differences across walkers (WDWs), their livelihoods, and the planning and governance context across bothcities is expected to produce new empirical and theoretical generalisations of broader relevance to mobility, walking and urban studies.