This article explores urban land claims made by residents living in Bishkek’s informal settlements (novostroikas) located on the edge of the city. By examining the growth of the urban periphery alongside shifts in property rights enacted through privatization programs, Bishkek’s novostroikas are a grassroots attempt to correct previous inequitable distributions of private property. The political unrest of the Tulip Revolution in 2005 and the violent events of 2010 are taken as decisive moments to challenge this unequal distribution. The article examines how the residents of novostroikas enact collective and moral claims over land that demonstrate an understanding of private property to be contextual, overlapping, and heterogeneous, rather than singular and predetermined.
Zvi Lerman and David Sedik, “Agricultural Recovery and Individual Land Tenure: Lessons from Central Asia,”Policy Studies on Rural Transition,no. 3 (Budapest: fao Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, 2009).