Assembling Amaravati: speculative accumulation in a new Indian city

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Carol Upadhya


Economy and Society (2020)



Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh, India, Land, Speculation, Urban Planning, Vernacular Capitalism


The paper explores processes of speculative accumulation through land in the making of a new city in Andhra Pradesh, southern India. Rather than analysing the Amaravati plan as an example of neoliberal urbanization or ‘accumulation by dispossession’, it examines how the project is unfolding on the ground by situating it within the region’s ‘vernacular capitalism’ centred on land and finance capital. The paper maps the processes of speculative accumulation through which value is extracted from land by diverse actors, and describes the practices of calculation, investment and negotiation employed by local landowners to manage their uncertain futures and to insert themselves as ‘stakeholders’ in the development of the new city. The Amaravati case reflects the deepening entanglement of transnational and provincial circuits of capital in post-liberalization India.