What's the role of the state in making the private urban megaprojects happen? The case of Panorama Tbilisi from Georgia.

What's the role of the state in making the private urban megaprojects happen? The case of Panorama Tbilisi from Georgia.

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This article examines the legislative manipulations in realization of an urban megaproject currently under construction in Tbilisi, Georgia. Introduced to the public in 2014, Panorama Tbilisi with the $600 million budget spread across 270,000m² of land is making significant changes to the downtown of the city and its adjacent natural hilltops. The project claimed to be the largest ever property development in Georgia, involves a long list of “spectacular” developments – luxury hotels connected by ropeways, serviced high-end apartments, A-class offices, the region’s largest conference hall– all placed in the historic and landscape preservation zone of the old city. While all project sites are located either in the area where the construction is completely, or partially banned, permits were issued anyways through manipulations of the national and municipal legal framework.
Despite the project being owned by the private actor – Georgian Co-Investment Fund – it is the hybrid actions of the government and the project owner that has allowed the delivery of Panorama Tbilisi. In contrast of the globally active role of local governments in conceiving urban entrepreneurial strategies, the national government, instead of questioning the project relevance, has played a decisive role in making the project happen through the adaptation of the national legislation and legislative exceptions locally. This determines the urban development process in Tbilisi.
This paper theorizes the mixed role of both the central and local government in the delivery of the urban entrepreneurial strategies such as the realization of the real estate urban megaproject. Through the content analysis of legislative documents, the governmental meeting records, interviews with various stakeholders, I will explore the role of the governmental structures in the realization of the urban megaproject through the legislative manipulations and modes of governance involved in this process.

Corresponding Author

David Gogishvili

Malmö University

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David Gogishvili

Malmö University

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Preferred Track

6. Urban policies

Second Preferred Track

1. Mega-events and mega-projects: trends and demands

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