Linking Value Chains: Land Assembly and Real Estate Development on a Peri-Urban Frontier

Authors: CAROL UPADHYA*, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES, VINAY GIDWANI, University of Minnesota, Department of Geography
Topics: Economic Geography, Asia, Urban Geography
Keywords: real estate, land assembly, value chains, India, peri-urban, Bangalore,
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

If the entanglements of real estate and finance capital are pivotal in ongoing urban transformations in cities of the global south, then a less visible but equally vital dimension is the process of land assembly on which residential and commercial real estate speculation and development are premised. This paper pries open the actor-networks and value chains of land assembly that underlie these transformations in a rapidly expanding peri-urban frontier of Bengaluru, India. Here and elsewhere in India, intermediaries in the land business use the vernacularized term “linking” as a descriptor of the work they do, referring to the social relations that are produced and required to transform agrarian land into urban property. Drawing on detailed interviews with a local intermediary, a regional land aggregator and other actors involved in assembling land for a large upscale apartment complex, our paper shows how social networks, local knowledge and micro-political maneuverings are harnessed to create inter-scalar linkages that enable value extraction and creation in the real estate sector. It also assesses the varying kinds and quantum of value that are captured, and risks borne, by different actors in the value chain, which stretches from the landowning farmer in the village up to the real estate company that built the project, to reflect on the concept of speculation in such contexts.

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