Negotiating Social Futures: the politics of land development and value capture during and after the Covid-19 pandemic

Dr Mi Shih and Dr Kathe Newman

Funding period: 1 September 2021 – 1 October 2022
Type of funding: Seminar Series

Host institution: Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University (United States)
Dates: September 2021 and September 2022 (New Brunswick)
Lead organisers: Dr Mi Shih and Dr Kathe Newman
Contact: Dr Mi Shih

Project website at Rutgers

Abstract: Globally, there has been an emerging centrality of land development as a means for social provision. Highly technical value capture policies tap real estate development, at times by accelerating it, to fund services and urban infrastructure. As land is now conceptualized as a reservoir of value to be extracted, there arise a set of questions about what it means for the city’s social future when public policy objectives are addressed through negotiated land deals and capture techniques.

Negotiating Social Futures: The Politics of Land Development and Value Capture During and After the COVID-19 PandemicThrough a virtual paper conference, a virtual mini-workshop on case study methodologies, and an in-person case study conference, we ask three sets of questions. First, how does value capture work? Does COVID-19 re-embed value in land development with social futures? By juxtaposing a set of dissimilar cases as a method of comparison, we plan to unravel how capture techniques are assembled and mobilized. We will also examine whether, and, if so, how, COVID-19 disrupts or restructures present land development discourses and practices. Second, how should the politics of land development and the city’s social futures be aligned? As the outcomes of value capture are always molded through the politics of public-private dynamics, we are particularly interested in the possibility of capturing value differently such that it is re-embedded with the social. Third, where is the place of the public in defining, negotiating, and anchoring captured value? A key target of our research inquiry is the conditions under which the public thrives or stagnates in value capture.