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Residential Investment Landscapes and the Governance and Regulation of Housing Production II

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group
Organizers: Frances Brill, Tuna Tasan-Kok
Chairs: Tuna Tasan-Kok


Cities across the world have been faced with unprecedented development pressures over recent decades as their populations and economies have expanded, and their built environments have become highly attractive locations for global investment in property markets. These pressures have been particularly acute in the production and consumption of housing, where the impacts on markets, citizens, and places are of growing significance. Despite continues capital accumulation in the cities metropolitan areas and growth in urban economies where new opportunities for economic and social mobility are opening up, housing is still increasingly inaccessible and even less affordable, with price increases becoming disconnected from incomes, particularly for young people and those on lower incomes. In New York, London and Paris, for instance, house prices have more than tripled in the last 20 years (Le Galès and Pierson, 2018). A perpetual lack of affordable housing is noticed even in relatively more welfarist cities like Amsterdam where the owner-occupied housing prices have risen almost 50% since 2010, and average waiting times for social housing have reached over 15 years. The urban residential property sector has been subject to persistent policy failures in terms of access, fuelled on the one hand, by growing demands for ‘affordable’ housing, and on the other the expansion of residential production for niche markets such as well-off middle classes, luxury units, buy-to-let for small households, short-term visitors, or students. The social, economic, and environmental impacts of these policy failings are being felt by a growing range of urban citizens and have longer term structural implications for the competitiveness of urban economies, and the social and political cohesion of cities. It is a global problem felt in major metropolitan cities in Europe along with long-established residential property and emerging markets.

At the same time the investment landscapes that exist within urban residential markets have taken on a new complexity, and urban development projects are now funded by a diverse range of local, global and national investors and underwritten by wide-ranging and often opaque financial arrangements. Policy-makers at a variety of scales have found it increasingly difficult to balance interventions to regulate and govern housing production in line with stated policy objectives. We are now witnessing the emergence of complex, multi-level regulatory landscapes in cities, underpinned by new forms of conflict and consensus over urban development priorities and the simultaneous role of housing as a means of accumulation, a residential investment space, a place of dwelling, and a vehicle for social mobility. In major cities, however, there is some re-scaling in the public policy instruments and forms of collective action and regulation that shape housing policy interventions and priorities (Tasan-Kok, 2010). New innovations and initiatives are emerging at the urban scale, including the formation of new hybrid public-private agencies that are acting as both market players and public housing and welfare providers. However, the form and character of such initiatives, their interactions with national and international policy systems, and their wider impacts on cities remain under-researched.

In this dynamic context that this session is set. We will examine the inter-relationships between contemporary investment flows into the residential property markets of major metropolitan centres and the governance arrangements and public policy instruments that are designed to regulate them.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Zachary Hyde*, , The Inherent Affordability Narrative in New Rental Housing Policy: Gentrification through Symbolic Conflation 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Yinnon Geva*, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Gillad Rosen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Divergent Entrepreneurialism: The Role of Municipal Regeneration Agencies in Urban Renewal 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Frances Brill*, University College London, Enrolling narratives of negativity: 'fixing' London's PRS 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Byron Miller*, University of Calgary, Erik Meij, University of Groningen, Dutch Municipal Finance and Social Housing Investment: Policy Change and Its Consequences 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Joe Penny 15 12:00 AM

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