ABOUT THE SEMINAR SERIES
The Seminar Series Negotiating Social Futures: The Politics of Land Development and Value Capture During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic has come into focus during our engagement and conversation with an interdisciplinary group of researchers, community activists, and planners about issues and practices related to the role of land as a reservoir of value to be extracted for social provision. Three sets of questions are especially of our concern and inquiry.
- How does value capture work? Does COVID-19 re-embed value in land development with social futures? We will also examine whether, and, if so, how, COVID-19 disrupts or restructures present land development discourses and practices. COVID-19 exposes marginalization and inequality in poor housing conditions for migrants and low-income neighborhoods, private design of public space, and anti-poor and profit-driven treatments of informal settlements. This raises questions about how to capture value differently such that it is re-embedded with the social. How does on-going social resistance to commodification and value capture, such as squatting and occupy movements, community land trust, etc., join forces with new reckonings around social inequalities in land?
- How should the politics of land development and the city’s social futures be aligned? The outcomes of value capture are never predetermined and instead are molded through the public-private dynamics. The proposed conference and workshop will foreground practices of value capture as a means toward possible social futures in the politics of land development.
- where is the place of the public in defining, negotiating, and anchoring captured value? Value capture techniques assume that gains and losses are additive and commensurable and only capture those that are material and measurable. The technocratic-oriented regime feeds well into the developmentalist, top-down urban entrepreneurialism, a prevalent mode of urban transformation especially in the Global South. It also often obscures global capitalism, power concentration, market rationality, and individualistic legality that are at the center of urban land commodification. In addition, whatever benefits that are available and open to public negotiation are only those compatible with the capitalist land market and development deals. The monetization of value therefore can easily foreclose non-monetary or social constructions of value by communities, leading to private appropriation of publicly produced value. It is therefore crucial to ask who decides, through what process, for whose value, at whose cost, and to what end. Workshop participants will examine the conditions under which the public thrives or stagnates in value capture.
This project is supported by an Urban Studies Foundation Seminar Series Award grant (USF-SSA-210213) and hosted by Dr. Mi Shih and Dr. Kathe Newman.