Event Date 22 – 23 May 2012
Royal Holloway University of London
11 Bedford Sq
London WC1E 6DP
Speculating on Slums
This two day workshop in May 2012 in Bedford Square, London will examine the role played by global financial investments in land markets and globalised networks of capital in slums of developing countries. It questions some of the underlying assumptions through which informal housing in the global South has been understood, gives insights into new emerging forms of marginality, highlights contradictory, complex tensions that emerge for donors, governments, and NGOs in relation to the urban poor. The workshop draws together interdisciplinary intellectual debates, key conceptual, political and policy lessons which will enable a new research agenda for work in informal housing in the global South. Leading academic scholars working on informal housing issues and NGO practitioners will be the main selective participants in the workshop.
Sue Parnell (University of Cape Town) – Understanding pathways for formalisation of slum markets
The April 2012 Economist reports that over the next 15 years, China and India alone are expected to add 16 trillion square meters of new housing to accommodate half a billion new urban residents., creating increasing excitement among capitalists seeking to expand their markets. While in the Global North residential construction, even of low income units, has long been acknowledged as a major frontier of capital accumulation, slum housing was not depicted in such commoditised terms until de Soto called for enhanced tenure security to unleash the spending and borrowing power of the poor of the developing world cities. The push for slum commodification,/development/ moneterisation now appears inevitable, and should be regarded as the biggest driver of social and economic change in the twenty-first century. The paper makes a case that in seeking to understand the pathways that the formalisation of slum markets it is critical to focus on more than houses and households. The key issues that will determine if slum moneterisation that is being driven by global banks and construction interests is a positive or negative development pathway will be how national and local systems of urban land regulation, housing consolidation and urban taxation are restructured.