Neo-Liberal Restructuring | sakshi sharma
Market forces! It indeed does.
The capitalist market has full control over the present and future of our public spaces. Infrastructure leftovers are the vacant lands/ residue of the infrastructural venture of capitalism. Government procedures and external market forces define the timeline and parameters of a project, where priorities are set on the rapid completion of the project, so more funds can be saved.
The sheer size and scale of infrastructure is so large that they take up lots of space, and after the completion, a lot of land is left vacant. So, if the land is suitable for commercial or residential uses, it is marked for that. And the land which isn't, is simply left vacant. Again, the market forces!
Of course due to the current structure of the economy, we are encouraged to make the most of it. We are mentally wired to act in certain ways, and think in terms of monetary value. But is it for the greater good? If it is then why do we see market failures? Why are there so many unexplained voids? Is this the structure or the preset algorithm we want to accept, which can decide the fate of our public spaces too? We should not.
Neo-liberal restructuring of our cities does not sound like the best way, because its first priority is to make the most of spaces by configuring them into higher value lands. Is there any consideration as to where this is taking our environmental conditions, only excuses.
Scrublands and natural vegetations are destroyed for “new development” and there is no “reimbursement” of that because it does not directly benefit the market. A market failure is usually where planners and designers intervene, and these infrastructural leftovers are such spaces where there is an opportunity of making changes for the benefit of the city and its environmental conditions , where a direct gain or profit may not be seen but it does support the city in many intangible ways. These vacant spaces present an opportunity to return to the public domain. They can become spaces of productivity, not only in terms of money. There is a pressing need for ecologically productive spaces because most of them have been destroyed, for the great development of mediocre commercial and residential buildings.
Market forces onto the public domain and the environment, through its subtle nature, but we need to identify it and say no. Public validation is a must for the working of this neo-liberal system, they do it by luring people into the fantasy of development. But we need to say no to the force.
May the force be with you? Maybe not.