Pipe Politics, Contested Waters: Embedded Infrastructures of Millennial Mumbai
“The Slum and Building Industry”: Marketizing Urban Development
The political project to transform Mumbai into an investment-friendly world-class city used market mechanisms to reconfigure the city’s built spaces and upgrade its infrastructures. “The market” presented a utopian solution to long-standing and intractable political struggles over land—struggles in which the city’s landowners, policymakers, and popular politicians had locked horns at least since independence. Animated by the idea that these deeply political conflicts could simply (and quite profitably) be adjudicated by the market, Mumbai’s liberalization-era policymakers approved a set of new regulatory tools, thereby creating a market in urban development rights. The chapter analyzes how this market actually works—how it has unmoored the geographies and economies of the city’s built space from its material infrastructures both theoretically (in order to create the market) and in practice (as the market-fueled built space of the city is rapidly reconfigured).
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