Financing Urban Fantasies: Logics, Practices, and Politics of Making Mega-projects in Frontier Cities

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Organizers: Jorn Koelemaij, Wanjing Chen
Chairs: Jorn Koelemaij

Call for Submissions


'Urban fantasies' that arise at the frontiers of contemporary global property market remain a largely uncharted territory for urban and economic geographers. It entails the making of mega real estate projects that invoke trendy urban models like 'smart', 'eco', 'global' cities etc. in context of late development and late urbanization. These urban visions sit in sharp contrast with their situated contexts characterized by steep poverty and rurality. They are thus qualitatively different from what have been discussed in existing literatures concerning inter-city referencing and policy mobilities. Although some pioneering work has highlighted the marginalizing impacts these fantasy-making projects have on the urban poor in their discursive construction and material fallout, the mechanisms through which they enable speculative capital accumulation remain a black box. On a broader level, 'otherworldly tales' of cities are often invented by the nexus of the private sector and the state as an instrument to 'insert' frontier property markets into the global pool of capital. Yet the politics and practices undergirding the financing of 'urban fantasies' require a closer look, given that many have turned into a cityscape of unused or underused spaces in their phase of materialization.

In this session, we would like to bring together researches examining the governance behind transnational urban mega-project development at the forefront of the global property market. We welcome papers covering (but not limited to):
--varieties of foreign capital financing urban fantasies in contemporary property frontiers;
--conditions that engender the spatial mobility of capital from source to destination;
--logics, strategies, and politics of accumulation underlying speculative urban projects;
--interactions between foreign investors, local elite, and state in governing frontier urbanization.
--both quantitative and qualitative contributions to the listed themes

Key literature:
Barthel, P.A. and Vignal, L., 2014. Arab Mediterranean Megaprojects after the'Spring': Business as Usual or a New Beginning?. Built Environment, 40(1), pp.52-71.
Goldman, M., 2011. Speculative urbanism and the making of the next world city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35(3), pp.555-581.
Goodfellow, T., 2017. Urban fortunes and skeleton cityscapes: real estate and late urbanization in Kigali and Addis Ababa. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(5), pp.786-803.
Nam, S., 2017. Urban Speculation, Economic Openness, and Market Experiments in Phnom Penh. Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, 25(4), pp.645-667.
Peck, J. and Theodore, N., 2015. Fast policy: Experimental statecraft at the thresholds of neoliberalism. University of Minnesota Press.
Roy, A, & Ong, A. eds. Worlding cities: Asian experiments and the art of being global. Vol. 42. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Shatkin, G., 2017. Cities for profit: The real estate turn in Asia's urban politics. Cornell University Press.
Watson, V., 2014. African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares?. Environment and Urbanization, 26(1), pp.215-231.
-- Cain, A., 2014. African urban fantasies: past lessons and emerging realities. Environment and Urbanization, 26(2), pp.561-567.
-- Bhan, G., 2014. The real lives of urban fantasies. Environment and Urbanization, 26(1), pp.232-235.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Joon Park*, , Smart city, eco city, world city, creative city, et cetera et cetera: A Marxist interpretation on the fast changes in urban development discourses 20 5:00 PM
Presenter Ozan Karaman*, LATTS, Research Centre on Technologies, Territories and Societies, Antoine Guironnet, LATTS, Research Centre on Technologies, Territories and Societies, Martine Drozdz, LATTS, Research Centre on Technologies, Territories and Societies, Ilknur Kursunlugil, LATTS, Research Centre on Technologies, Territories and Societies, Mathilde Moaty, LATTS, Research Centre on Technologies, Territories and Societies, Transnational speculations on urban land: sites and negotiations 20 5:20 PM
Presenter Wanjing Chen*, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spectacular Failure? Unpacking the Financial Life of an Unrealized Urban Fantasy in Vientiane, Lao PDR 20 5:40 PM
Presenter Jorn Koelemaij*, Ghent University, Understanding the UAE’s Transnational Real Estate Development Strategies: an Exploration of the Co-Existence of Geo-Economics and Geo-Politics. 20 6:00 PM
Presenter ASLI CEYLAN ONER*, Izmir University of Economics, Cemil Arslan, Marmara Municipalities Union, Ezgi Kucuk, Marmara Municipalities Union, When Transnational Capital Simultaneously Touches and Untouches the Global City Space: The Case of Istanbul 20 6:20 PM

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