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Dr. Bérénice Bon

Dr. Bérénice Bon
- Researcher -

Bérénice has a doctorate in geography from Centre d'Études de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud (a French research institute in social sciences dealing with the Indian subcontinent) at EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences), Paris, France. She was a visiting PhD candidate at the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities in New Delhi between 2011 and 2013. She did her PhD in the framework of the ‘Chance2Sustain’ project, funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme, which focused on the politics of knowledge generation and sharing and the forms of knowledge that are used or ignored in urban policy-making. Since September 2013, she is a member of the International Metropolitan Research Consortium which analyses the relations between public and private players in the shaping of metropolitan development in ten cities. She also received a grant from the Fondation Palladio.

Her doctoral dissertation analysed a transport megaproject in India, the Delhi Metro Rail and the use of land value capture instruments to generate revenues to be reinvested into the infrastructure. That case study was a window for studying urban governance more broadly, the role of powerful State Corporation in urban development, the localized specific regulation of a megaproject vis à vis masterplanning, and the relationships between expert knowledge and policy dynamics. Her work questioned recent theoretical propositions in international literature such as urban 'entrepreneurialism', the 'new generation of megaproject', State territoriality. That case study finally revealed the assertion of a new model of State control in the service of neoliberalism, through the structure of a megaproject and its ad hoc entity. Thus the implementation of the injunction from international development organisations to unlock the land value, the commodification of urban land, the incorporation and diffusion of New Public Management cohabitate with an old sectorial approach in urban development, and the resonance of a culture of statism perpetuated by some individuals and institutions.

Post doc project

Governing with new spatial instruments. Shifting patterns of public and private engagement in mass transport and land development

Bérénice post doc research will deepen and put into perspective the main results of her previous work, from the cities of Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. By investigating new models of zoning and land management associated with transport infrastructure, she will analyse the political economy of land rent in those cities, and the empowerment of state and corporate actors to develop large tracts of land owned by transport public authorities and leading to new perimeters of collective action within the city and the reshaping of urban territories. She will also question the process of financialization, managerialization, and introduction of new domains of action (e.g. a real estate portfolio) within a state corporation, here the Kenya Railways.

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