Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
Crises of displacement and dispossession are experienced in cities globally as land uses change to accommodate the needs and desires of governments and capital. In Vancouver, BC, governments increasingly fund new social housing with resources extracted from for-profit real estate development, producing crises for residents. Policies that enact these crises include municipal land use policies, and provincial and federal housing policies. This paper will examine the commodification of non-profit owned and public land through land sale, non-profit/for profit development partnerships, and new social housing investment tools that financialize formerly public resources. Land use and housing policies at all levels of government contribute to growing urban inequality while ostensibly creating space in the gentrifying city for the poor. This contradiction is fueling conflict in the city. To grapple with this contradiction, this paper argues that it is important to reexamine the relationship between neoliberalism and the meanings, values, and uses of land. In the neoliberal dispersed state (Clarke 2004), where both non-profit and for-profit entities come to reflect and represent state power, city residents have fewer avenues for political protest. Non-profit housing agencies, considered members of civil society, appear to represent profit and state interests when they participate in these land-based relationships. Further, tight relationships between state, non-profit and for-profit entities could impede both more robust public programs and more just land use.
Clarke, J. (2004). Dissolving the Public Realm? The Logics and Limits of Neo-liberalism. Journal of Social Policy, 33(1), 27–48.