Periurban Narratives of Land Value: From Investments to Compensation

Authors: Sudeshna Mitra*, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Asia
Keywords: Periurban, land, land value, value geographies, India, Kolkata, Hyderabad, South Asia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8212, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper uses land values as the lens to examine uneven geographies of periurban transformations in Kolkata and Hyderabad, both capitals of their respective states. Post liberalization, the peripheries of both cities experienced land transformations, with public as well as private leveraging of land for use, investment and speculation- driven by the state governments’ intent and actions to remake these cities into attractive destinations for external investments. Public- private partnerships emerged, based on land- based negotiations, with land being used as subsidy, credit collateral, leverage in debt- equity arrangements, as well as a hedging asset. A range of land valuation exercises – from project financials for investors to land valuations to assess compensation for displaced populations - have played a critical role in structuring current and prospective periurban geographies of use, dispossession, aggregation, financial leverage, development and risk. The paper’s comparative frame is arranged around the different political ideologies of the state governments that facilitated the periurban transformations in the two cities - a communist government in Kolkata and a pro- market government in Hyderabad. The contestations over land values reveal parallel trends, but emerge from distinctly different government approaches towards external investors. However, in both cities speculative valuations of land, associated with new aspirational projects have been privileged over productive use- values of land, tied to current cycles of urban food production, waste management, ground water replenishment, and livelihoods of resident and migrant populations.

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