Notes Toward a Theory of Investability: Marketization, Real Estate, and the Multiple Interests in Property

Authors: Peter Wissoker*, Independent Scholar
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: real estate, marketization, property, investability, economic geography, urban geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A small burst of writing describing what makes land investable has been running a parallel track to discussions of marketization. For the most part, investability has been used to describe “the assemblage that renders so-called ‘frontier, ‘marginal’ or ‘underutilized’ land visible, and available for global investment” (Li, 592). The assemblages are grounded in shifting notions of value and their elements and underlying belief systems are contentious and unstable (Goldstein and Yates, 2017; Fobelman and Bassett, 2017). The purpose of this paper is to generalize the concept of investability and to offer a theoretical apparatus to underpin it. Property, here, is seen as the nexus of a set of networks, involving the owner, lender, investor, tenants, the public, the broader political economy, local government and planners, and tools of investment. It is both within and outside markets. Rather than focus on moments of transition from non-investable to investable as previous authors have done, I argue that property is always investable (in both market and social terms) and trace both what this looks like in practice and the ontological and epistemological logic upon which it rests. The paper maps out how both market-oriented and non-market-oriented perceptions/networks come together in property, at scales from the local users to global investors.

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