Monday, September 19, 2011

Theoretical Arguments for New forms of Urbanisation

Theoretical Arguments for New forms of Urbanisation



1.David Harvey, “Limits on Capital”
2.David Harvey, “MEGACITIES LECTURE 4”
3.David Harvey, “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” (2005)
4.David Harvey, “Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development” (2006)
5.Saskia Sassen, “Locating cities on global circuits”
6.Saskia Sassen, “Cities in a world economy”
7.Henry Lefebvre, “The Production of Space”
8.Neil Brenner, “The Urbanisation of Neoliberalism: Theoretical debates”
9.Manuel Castells, “The Urban Question. A Marxist Approach”
10.MICHAEL GOLDMAN, "Speculative Urbanism and the Making of the Next World City"


New types of development in the peri-urban peripheryFramework: The four criteria's are ( Harvey, D: 2006)1. The material embedding of capital accumulation process in the web ofsocio-ecological life- leads to more urbanization and geographical development reflects the different ways in which different social groups have materiallyembedded their modes of society into the web of socio-ecological life2. Accumulation by dispossession- Capital surplus is absorbed through geographical expansions Leads to uneven-geographical development through long term debt andfinanced capital investment embedded in land3. The law- like character of capital accumulation in space and timeconversion of NA land a much simpler process4. Political, social and class struggles at a variety of geographical scales.

Theoretical Framework of GOLDMAN article1. State is initiating a set of dynamics to convert rural land by integrating it into world class city and global economy and this puts the majority of people under a type of rule of law which is described by author as ‘state of exception’.2. ‘Conversion’ of the rural into the urban affects the class and community relations, social and economic relations, and has lead to new forms of industrialization (say IT) and urbanization (say world class cities). 3. These are new modes of spatial and social production changes the role of the State and thus creates a ‘speculative government’ in cities with exceptional rules of dispossession. 4. This leads to redefining state relations, urban citizenship, rights and rules of access.

Firstly, the author argues that ‘transnational policy networks’, the International Financial Institutions and other International agencies are influencing the making and implementing new projects in Bangalore.

Second, the role of old bureaucracy is replaced by powerful ‘parastatal’ agencies and is helping to bring about new land acquisition under ‘eminent domain’ for the public good and thus leads to converting the rural lands to urban periphery which he describes it as “informal everyday practices of land encroachment, lower-class people’s dispossession”. Sassen talks about the 'unbundling of the State'. Few activities of the State are diminished and few other activities are enhanced such as replacing the old bureaucracy with ‘parastatal’ agencies, signing of International treaties with UN, ILO, IMF, WTO and many more and she describes this as process of 'Rescaling'. Therefore new institutional arrangements (parastatal agencies) are constantly being constituted in response to circumstances of material embedding of capital circulation and State also creates laws such as ownership of private property of land, individual judicial rights over the land etc to promote this kind of urbanization. (Sassen)

Third, author argues that certain new forms of capital investment and their relations have emerged in Bangalore and these are linked to other urban centres which are very similar to transformations occurring in other cities across Asia with world-city ambitions. He also says that there is active politics over land speculation and active dispossession and in the process the leads to ill- paid labour which has an effect on their jobs, identities and communities and author argues that this is highly speculative and living in Bangalore is itself become very dangerous .
David Harvey argues that capital moves in circuits and looks are new markets for investment in first circuit. In the Second circuit this surplus capital is invested in some tangible assets such as land so that more surplus and profits are made. Harvey also talks about the Historical- Geographical- Materialism where historical gives the temporal unfolding, geographical gives an idea of spatial order which defines private property, boundary of State and material embedding. Thus the material embedding of capital accumulation process leads to more urbanization and geographical development which reflect the different ways in which different social groups have materially embedded their modes of society into the web of socio-ecological life. Capital accumulation has to be transformed into material such as land and thus shapes land pattern.( Harvey: 2006 )This process is dynamic and is evolving and one can see linkages between theoretical concepts and practical experiences in Bangalore.

The Author then traces the history of growth of industries such as Public-sector companies in Bangalore and the role of State in promoting these industries and gives the dynamics of housing, type of labor employed and changing land pattern due to growth of these industries. However, he argues that until mid-1990's Bangalore didn’t face major problems , but after that one can observe ‘mega-city problems’ with characteristics of social inequality, mass displacement and dispossession, growth of slums, violence among caste and religious groups and epidemic public health crises due to severe water supply and sewage problems, traffic problems and air pollution etc. The author also argues that there are coalitions among the private corporations such as NASSCOM, CII, NRIs etc and they help to connect globally so that capital circulates globally and gives examples as how that State at all levels Central, State, Local level intervenes and creates a conducive environment for capital to move.
David Harvey argues that In Neo-liberal era , where the private players look for new investment areas for greater profits by adopting new and superior technologies such as investing in new transport networks which requires new lands and thus promotes new urbanization . Thus the space- time dimension of urbanization is changing rapidly due to superior transport and communication facilities. Physical investments in land are very important for newer investment in production and consumption. Any spatial arrangements achieved under one set of transport and communication such as rail roads and telegraph will have to be changed to meet the conditions of any new set such as air transport and Internet has lead to evolving inequality of geography of land and territorial division of labor and creates contradictions in the way capital embeddes itself and thus one can draw similarities in the theoretical concepts of David Harvey and practical experiences in Bangalore as described by the author.( Harvey: 2006 )


Manuel Castel's Analytical framework gives five components which can be traced to this article. First, Economy expressed in Space- At different period’s different economy exists. Before 1990's the economy of Bangalore was mainly constituted of Public Sector enterprises, but this changed to IT industry and services after 1990's. Bangalore also had Manufacturing centres but most of them have now shifted to tier-II cities such as Hosur and thus a hierarchy of cities is formed. Place becomes secondary and communication and technology become primary.

Second, Collective consumption- capitalist mode of production in urban could not be located in the sphere of production, but it had to be in the sphere of reproduction of labour power. Reproductive capacity of labor which included food, wages for production become important part of labour compensation. Since large quantities of labour are needed, they all are collective consumers and State plays an active role in bringing about collective consumption. Therefore due to these reasons many employees/ workers/ labourers came and settled in Bangalore and increases the stress on providing basic services, infrastructure etc and this leads to contradictions. Example: Who has access to water and who does not?. Since Water Supply Board (BWSSB) has limited water to supply to Bangalore and thus those who can't afford to pay or those who are illegal ( not recognised by State) are excluded from the water provision and this could lead to class struggles against the ruling powers.

Third, Exchange- Market is facilitated by space. There is a continuous modification, multiplication, innovation, change in the way markets are functioning in Bangalore. The author doesn't talk much about these.Fourth, Institution- The author argues in detail that Government in Bangalore is very speculative. Three significant institutional shifts have occurred in the governance arena in Bangalore

First, Author talks about the role of IFI and their hidden agenda and Central Government's scheme of JNNURM and its attached conditionality of reforms have changed the type of institutional structure in governance. Logic of decentralisation is not to have layers of Governance structures above it but by enhancing the local government’s role the Global and National Agenda of Neo-liberalism can be unleashed. ( Sassen) . Therefore with these institutional changes offered to attract new capital and this also created unequal geographical developments such as growth of SEZ in IT sectors etc ( Castels, Harvey: 2006).

Second, author gives a perspective on expert commissions and task forces that have been set up since 1999 which played a critical role as an institutional apparatus that could ‘meet demands that the present system of elected corporations does not adequately fulfil’. The argument was that this would enhance citizen role and they could take informed and effective decisions. Therefore setting up of Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) with representation from IT, BT sectors , NGOs, business community and ‘ABIDe Bengaluru' created a trend of giving elite corporate and citizen leaders the power of decision-making and in the process circumventing existing forms of government decision-making.

Third, The Role of Institution of citizen action groups such as Janaagraha and Public Affairs Centre (PAC) led by ex-IFI and Wall Street professionals is given more prominence in the government agencies by introducing new concepts such as citizen’s report card which have made their way into JNNURM.
Thus the author argues that with these institutional changes such as decentralization and local empowerment, the Governance is weakened and this have not led to democratization but rather it is undermined and voluntarism and civil-society participation have temporarily triumphed.

The author then argues that the farmers in rural areas are not able to produce to maximum limit and whatever they produce is not enough and many of these rural farmers have small land holdings with the reference to BMIC project. One can trace this to Safa argument, that there are large processes of rural subsistence. Therefore there is large distress among the farmers with very less profits , however large number of them are still employed in farming and this is not similar to freeing to labour. (Safa) . Since the State is not a homogenous entity, there are places to intervene and one can work through these contradictions ( Castels) and thus these rural farmers with small land holdings with the help of NGOs started a struggles against land acquisition and later on they also filed a case in High Court.

Safa also gives the characteristics of urbanisation is the presence of huge informal economy where most of the urban and rural population is employed in multi-faceted ‘informal’ economy with occupation ranging from textiles, apparels, silk processing, mechanical fabrication, floriculture, food processing etc which employs most of the population and generates between 55 and 75% of Bangalore’s GDP. However the world-city projects such as BIA, BMIC, IT corridor etc are seen as positive for the growth of city and its economy and has greater political backing while neglecting this huge diverse informal sector.

Author argues that reason for conversion of agricultural land to urban non agricultural land is that the Markets view these agricultural land in the fringes of the city are 'dead capital' buried within unproductive public and poor-people’s landscapes and State is actively involved in such activities and quotes examples of reports of land grabbing of senior government and party officials and this money is used for political party funds. Author also argues that State which owned large tracks now and before, however before 1980s State earned their incomes from rent collection and maintenance fees; but now in stark contrast, state agents earn their incomes by turning public goods into real estate, and these real estate has become highly remunerative largely due to branding of Bangalore as 'World Class City'.

With the rise of IT sector trends in land-use patterns have changed drastically. IT’s main investment is in real estate. As Global competition enhances these IT companies tend to invest their surplus in land because of it lucrative returns (more than IT revenue itself) . Therefore converting undervalued public or community land or private land into real estate ensures that IT companies are globally competitive. Land values in the recent times have skyrocketed anywhere between 160% - 200% between 2001 and 2006 and cites the case of Infosys and Satyam . The author argues that reasons for these are First, most of foreign IT firms no longer purchase land for their own campuses but are leasing other ones and earn profit and they are also government initiatives and subsidies given to IT companies to attract them to Bangalore.

Second, the number of SEZ applications for IT office parks is increasing which implies that more public money, land and resources are being channelized into these IT firms to offset the start-up maintenance costs.

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