The Occupant Is the Owner!: Constructions and Contestations Over Varied Administrative Land Commons in North Bangalore:

Authors: Varun Patil*, Indian Institute of Habitat settlements bangalore
Topics: Urban Geography, Land Use
Keywords: urban commons Bangalore urban politics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Scholars on Bangalore have looked at how the neo-liberal turn of the city is giving birth to new kinds of exclusionary housing settlements and land policies (Goldman 2011, Nair 2005). While not disputing the power of capital to shape urban space in exclusionary ways, alternate practices of space making not only exist, but are thriving in the city. The Bangalore Development Authority’s grand vision to turn the city into global Singapore has been hit over the years by farmers getting their land dropped from acquisition (CAG report 2012). Revenue layouts (carved out of illegal subdivisions on agricultural land) and squatter settlements, which provide housing to 80 percent of the citizens continue to thrive and expand in the city despite the attempts by planning authorities to stop them (ALF report: 2002). The social embeddedness of land allows for diverse groups to mobilize politico-administrative spaces (writ petitions, GPA’s, caste networks, and Electoral politics) to strengthen their claims on land (Solomon 2008, Solomon and Raman 2011). Drawing from rich ethnographic research from three sites in North Bangalore representing three different types alternate insurgent strategies of space making, the paper will argue for the need to conceptualise the politico-administrative spaces over land as a form of urban commons; one that is materialized in uneven and conflictual ways.

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