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Public land, value capture, and the rise of speculative urban governance in post-crisis London

Bloom, Aretousa (2023) Public land, value capture, and the rise of speculative urban governance in post-crisis London. Environment and Planning A. ISSN 0308-518X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0308518X231199701

Abstract

The capture of value from public land has emerged as a central concern in recent scholarship on urban financialization. Drawing on the case of local authority housing companies in London, this paper explores why and how the local state is engaging in an increasingly speculative mode of land development, and with what effects. By conceptualizing state-led value capture as a political technology of risk management that operates across scales, I develop two key arguments. First, I argue that struggles over the allocation of the risks and costs of public debt have shaped local authorities’ speculative engagement with land. Unlike the case of US municipalities that are structurally reliant on private bond markets, I show how local authorities’ growth politics have been underwritten by the central state and accelerated by budgetary austerity. Second, I argue that this translocation of risk at the scale of the local gives rise to a form of state power organized around the allocation, production, and constant monitoring of financial and political risks. The politics of risk that underpin municipal experiments in state-led value capture combine an embrace of uncertainty and value expansion, with the principles of austerity budgeting, downscaling, and retrenchment. Ultimately, the effects of this form of state intervention are a heightening of uneven development, an exacerbation of local fiscal crisis, and a weakening of democratic governance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2024 14:48
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2024 18:06
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/122076

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