Developer Cartels and the Pursuit of Class Monopoly Rent: The Case of Portland’s Pearl District

Authors: Matthew Anderson*, Eastern Washington University
Topics: Urban Geography, Political Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: Neoliberalism, capitalism, political economy, gentrification, urban, redevelopment
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The study examines the role of class monopoly rent in shaping the spatial form and pattern of urban redevelopment processes in the contemporary neoliberal city. Since an initial flourishing literature during the 1970s and 1980s, urban land rent theory has fallen from the analytic radar of critical urban studies since the early 1990s, with the influence of class monopoly rent often considered an aberration of how capitalist real estate markets normally operate, if not rejected. Consequently, class monopoly rent has never been systematically elaborated. Based on an empirical analysis of Portland’s Pearl District, this study suggests that the influence of class monopoly rent in contemporary processes of urban redevelopment is far more pervasive than often recognised, representing a “standard institutional practice” that is endemic (rather than aberrational) to the working of neoliberal urban governing regimes, and embeds in the social and physical landscape, in gentrifying areas and beyond, in a multiplicity of ways.

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