New developers and international capital in the making of the city: towards a regime shift? An analysis of two large-scale developments in Milan and Brussels

Authors: Veronica Conte*, Università di Milano Bicocca, Serena Vicari, Università di Milano-Bicocca
Topics: Urban Geography, Regional Geography
Keywords: real estate, mega-projects, international capital, growth coalition, regulation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: St. Charles, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 41st Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this paper, we analyze and compare two large-scale flagship projects in Milan and Brussels: City Life in the Italian city and Tour and Taxis in the Belgian capital. The two mixed-use developments, favorably located in highly strategic and central areas, are analyzed in their development over time in terms of the changing resources of political and economic elites with respect to their bargaining power over real estate development, the changes in inter-governmental relationships and the role of capital investment.
We argue that these cases are indicative of a regime shift (Savitch and Kantor, 2002) in which new developers controlling substantial financial resources increasingly play a leading role in growth coalition patterns and in shaping the redevelopment process in ways that lead to a high return to investors.
In order to unravel the new role of developers, we focus on the different mechanisms and tools shaping the injection of capital into local real estate markets, the main actors involved as well as the investment and political logics driving their operations in the two projects. We advance the hypothesis that the regulatory frameworks confronting these actors shape their different strategies as well as the structure of interaction between new developers and government at different scales.

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