Mobilising Financial Assets: The Politics of Rent Production in Manchester and Antwerp

Authors: Callum Ward*, KU Leuven
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Rent, rentiership, financialisation, financialization, neoliberalisation, neoliberalization, assetisation, assetization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Studio 8, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Aiming to bring rent theory to bear on the contemporary city, I consider how various actors have mobilised land and infrastructure as financial assets and, in the process, created neoliberalized socio-spatial configurations. I concentrate on land associated with port infrastructure because this combines important themes: first, ports’ retreat from city centres left large tracts of waterfront land which cities could exploit for flagship developments as part of emerging urban entrepreneurial strategies. Second, in the mid-00s infrastructure emerged as an asset-class in itself and ports became of particular interest for private equity investors, embedding the infrastructure within globalised circuits of financial capital. The struggles over spatial restructuring in former port areas thus provides a lens into the increasing influence of finance, the shift of western economies from Fordist to neoliberal/finance-led regimes, and a corresponding restructuring of territorial organisation wherein the competitive city has become a focal point. Thus, through cases in Manchester and Antwerp, I explore these overlapping intersections of financialisation, (variegated) neoliberalisation, and assetisation; arguing that at their core lies a politics of rent production.

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