Speculative Urbanism and the Making of the Next World City

Authors

  • MICHAEL GOLDMAN

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Sociology and the Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota, USA
    • Michael Goldman (mgoldman@umn.edu), Department of Sociology and the Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota, 909 Social Sciences Bldg, 267 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.

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  • I would like to thank Wesley Longhofer, Vinay Baindur and P. Rajan for their excellent intellectual and research support; Professors Gopal Karanth and Supriya RoyChowdhury of the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), and Professors Carol Upadhya, Narendar Pani and A.R. Vasavi of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in the Indian Institute for Science — Bangalore (IISc), and the rest of the NIAS professors, graduate students, staff and its director, for the creative and supportive environment in the center of town; and the exceptional and generous scholar Professor Solomon Benjamin, as well as scholars R. Bhuvaneswari, Lalitha Kamath and others who have helped me enormously. Thanks also to Sinan Erensu, Guillaume Boccara, Heather O'Leary, my colleagues at the University of Minnesota, particularly in our inspiring Global Cities collaborative, as well as audiences and commentators at UC Berkeley, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Michigan, Dickinson College, South Asia Conference at University of Wisconsin–Madison, Hamline University, St. Olaf College, Duke University, Newcastle and Northumbria universities (UK), Madras Institute for Development Studies (Chennai), Tata Institute for Social Studies in Mumbai, and the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore.

Abstract

Abstract

This article explores the process of making Bangalore, India into a ‘world city’ by focusing on specific world-city projects, the parastatal government agencies managing them, the explosive IT industry as the putative engine behind this world-city making, and the inter-urban dynamics across world cities such as Dubai and Singapore. Most of these activities are linked to the highly remunerative challenge of transforming rural economies into urban real estate. Land speculation and active dispossession of those working and living in the rural periphery, on land upon which the new world-city projects are being built, is the main business of government today in Bangalore. This article suggests that this temporary ‘state of exception’, with both its attendant suspensions of civil and human rights as well as their institutionalization into government practices, reflects a shift into new forms of ‘speculative’ government, economy, urbanism and citizenship.

Résumé

En Inde, Bangalore passe par un processus de fabrication de ‘ville mondiale’. Pour l'étudier, cet article examine les projets spécifiques à cette dimension urbaine, les organes para-étatiques qui les gèrent, le secteur des technologies informatiques en plein essor qui est censéêtre le moteur du processus, ainsi que les dynamiques interurbaines qui relient les villes mondiales comme Dubaï et Singapour. Ces activités sont associées en grande partie à l'entreprise, particulièrement rémunératrice, de transformation des économies rurales en secteur immobilier urbain. Le gouvernement actuel de Bangalore s'emploie principalement à des opérations de spéculation foncière et de dépossession énergique à l'encontre des populations qui travaillent et vivent dans la zone périphérique rurale, sur les terrains où se bâtissent les projets de la ‘ville mondiale’. Cet ‘état d'exception’ temporaire, avec la suspension afférente de droits civiques et humains, parallèlement à son institutionnalisation dans certaines pratiques du gouvernement, reflète le passage vers de nouvelles formes de citoyenneté, d'urbanisme, d'économie et de gouvernement ‘spéculateur’.

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