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Political Ecologies of Urban Real Estate and Finance II: Exploring the intersections of financial and environmental risks

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Organizers: Emma Colven, Zac Taylor
Chairs: Emma Colven


This session seeks to explore the ways in which financial and environmental risks intersect in real estate and the built environment, and how such crossroads restructure urban political ecologies and economies. Our call is animated by a pressing need to better understand the relationships between two parallel urban moments. Cities are now widely seen as key climate actors, as active laboratories for articulation of new forms of climate response and resilience, as much as places of unequal exposure and climate in/justice. At the same time, cities are central sites and subjects of financialization, with real estate (and real estate-linked finance) playing a crucial part in shaping unequal patterns of accumulation and power within and between places.

These dual moments converge in striking and contradictory ways. Within the spaces of real estate and finance, we witness intensified investment in existentially vulnerable coastal settings like Jakarta or Miami, the development of new strategies for managing property catastrophe risks within financial institutions, and the marketization of residential catastrophe insurance premiums through new forms of asset-linked financial engineering. At the same time, many cities increasingly seek to secure real estate from climate devaluation, as seen in how the protection of ‘property value at risk’ is increasingly centered as an organizing goal of resilience policies. So too are climate risks curiously left off the map in real estate and built environment management debates. These represent a selection of emerging, if fragmentary efforts to shore up global capital’s precarious investment in risky cities.

Yet significant work remains remains to catalogue, conceptualize, and critique these interactions, and to pose new questions about how we value and rethink the relationships between discourses of risk and resilience. To these ends, this session seeks to critical interventions which situate the relationships between financial and environmental risks in relation to cities, the built environment, and real estate.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Hanna Hilbrandt*, HafenCity University, The risks of green municipal debt: Green bonds and the globalization of “sustainable” finance 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Nevena Pilipovic-Wengler*, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Does Financing Fuel the Climate Crisis? What Two Massachusetts Green Bonds Tell Us About North American Urban Governance of the Climate Crisis 15 12:00 AM
Presenter I-Chun Catherine Chang*, Macalester College, Financing Smart-Eco Projects in Taipei: Public-Private Collaborative Governance, Institutional Reconfiguration, and Resource Reallocation 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Ryan Jones*, University of Auckland, Debt Intersections: Green Bonds and the Built Environment 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Caroline Ponder University of British Columbia 15 12:00 AM

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