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The construction of Mumbai’s land market

Baliga, Anitra (2020) The construction of Mumbai’s land market. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004238


Recent regulatory changes have led to the transformation of Mumbai's real estate industry. Since the liberalization of India's real estate sector in 2005, Mumbai has seen an unprecedented flow of finance capital into the production and sale of new real estate to meet the city's housing needs. The prerequisite for such investments is that land be commoditized, i.e., delinked from its socio-spatial specificities so it can be traded on global financial markets. However, in a context like Mumbai, this is especially difficult because property rights are unclear, and the rules of land development uncertain. Using Mumbai as a case study, this project examines how real estate developers operationalize the imagination of commoditized land, often through narratives of the developmental hero, by describing their work as acts of heroism in a context where development would otherwise be impossible, in order to establish a market for land. An eighteen-month ethnographic study reveals that a new professional class of developers who strive to commodify land against all the odds (as opposed to effectively producing and selling new real estate), has emerged dominant against incumbent and financially responsible development firms in Mumbai. This group's struggle to follow through with the execution of projects has paradoxically resulted in several abandoned projects in the city and driven away financial investors from participating in further real estate production.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Anitra Baliga
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Hall, Suzanne and Wansleben, Leon

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