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Unfolding expeditious and massive scale of urban transformation in post-global financial crisis (GFC) of 2007-08 era through the lens of portfolio urbanism: the case of West Loop, Chicago

Authors: Youngjun Kim*, University of Illinois - Chicago - Chicago, IL
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Real Estate Developer, Urban Development, Financialization, Economic Geography, Political Economy
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the post-global financial crisis (GFC) era, there is a significant growth in the number of unconventional commercial real estate submarkets across the United States with a large number of emerging small-scale developers becoming critical market actors through the rise of these submarkets. These developers have distinguished socio-spatial strategies that include the heavy concentration of development projects and properties within a single submarket and targeting different types of tenants. Despite the unique characters of the market and its own speed of transformation became a common urban-social phenomenon particularly in the period of the GFC, surprisingly the notion of speed and urban politics associated with the market itself and speed of the market formation are under-examined. In this context, the study focuses on unfolding the mechanics of the recent urban redevelopment in the post-industrial site through the case study of West Loop, Chicago to identify how the speed of urban transformation is determined by whom and why, and its implication on the built environment. In this study, I situate developers as the central agents of change and influence urban redevelopment, who play complicate roles in various fields including policy, development, and leasing market to identify how their complex roles allow them to reinforce their status and raise abnormal profits in the market by looking at both project and portfolio scale. The study uses a dataset that consolidates mortgage, transaction, development, planning intervention, and tenant at property level in the study area from 2000 through 2018.

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