‘Buy it, Fix it, Sell it’: urban assetization and high-velocity finance in reconfiguring the post-crisis city

Authors: Sinead Kelly*, Maynooth University
Topics: Urban Geography, Economic Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: financialization, real estate, urban governance, investment funds
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Riverview I, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 41st Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Cities have been rapidly reconfigured in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Recent scholarship at the urban-financialization interface has highlighted how financial, real-estate and state actors have spearheaded a range of urban experiments that embed new financial rationalities in the heart of urban policy agendas. Some of this work argues that we are witnessing an evolving financialised regime of urban governance (Lake, 2015; Peck and Whiteside, 2016) while other work charts how the assetization or financialization of land has become a key goal of urban policy thus implicating state institutions as key actors in these processes (Weber 2010, Kaika and Ruggiero 2014, Byrne 2015, Savini and Aalbers 2015). Within this broader framework, Weber (2015) and Halbert and Attuyer (2016:7) call for more actor-centered mappings of the ‘ordinary sociotechnical mediations’ of financial processes, paying particular attention to financial intermediaries, their interplay and their interaction with state actors and institutions. Drawing on an emblematic post-crash city, this paper provides an update on the reconfiguration of Dublin’s political economy, where a host of new opportunities and roles for new (international) investment funds were forged post-2008. The paper focuses on key private-equity (PE) companies that have taken a significant stake in Dublin’s distressed commercial real-estate market highlighting their interplay with the state-established asset-management company, NAMA. Using case studies to illustrate, the paper argues that the short-term, high-velocity financial logic of these funds in buying, restructuring and disposing of distressed assets, is becoming deeply embedded in Dublin’s urban policy regime.

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