Negotiating Social Futures: The Politics of Land Development and Value Capture During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Location: Civic Square Building, The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, NJ 08901 | Map

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This in-person case study conference is the last event of a three-part series organized by the Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. These events are supported by an Urban Studies Foundation Seminar Series Award grant. Through a set of case studies from Chile, Brazil, Canada, USA, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, conference participants will explore and engage in questions related to land development, value capture, value conflicts, participatory democracy, and the city’s social futures. Three main questions are especially central to interrogation:

First, how does value capture work? Value capture is practiced locally idiosyncratically. By juxtaposing a set of dissimilar cases as a method of comparison, we plan to unravel how capture techniques are assembled and then mobilized globally to develop land through variegated processes of implementation and outcomes. Particular attention is paid to questions such as how to capture value differently such that it is re-embeded with the social? How does on-going social resistance to commodification and value capture, such as squatting and occupy movements, community land trust, etc., join forces with new reckonings around social inequalities in land?

Second, how should the politics of land development and the city’s social futures be aligned? Whether, and how, value capture further intertwines public benefits with financial logics is an important area of debate in the existing scholarship. The conference will foreground practices of value capture as a means toward possible social futures in the politics of land development.

Third, where is the place of the public in defining, negotiating, and anchoring captured value? Value capture techniques assume that gains and losses are additive and commensurable and only capture those that are material and measurable. The monetization of value therefore can easily foreclose non-monetary or social constructions of value by communities, leading to private appropriation of publicly produced value. It is therefore crucial to ask who decides, through what process, for whose value, at whose cost, and to what end. Conference participants will examine the conditions under which the public thrives or stagnates in value capture.

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"It is not an overstatement to say that the USF Fellowship was invaluable in relation to both my career development and the advancement of my research around urban politics. The USF Fellowship provided me with an opportunity to be part a diverse, open and stimulating academic milieu; to have the space and time to focus on research, and to pave the way for future academic research development."

Dr Lazaros Karaliotas, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Urban Studies Foundation is a registered Scottish charity. Registration number SC039937.

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