Using financialised housing to steer urban development. The case of Urban Containment Perimeters in Mexico.

Authors: Tania Guerrero*, University College London
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, South America
Keywords: housing financialization, urban policy, real estate developers, Mexico
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 6:25 AM / 7:40 AM
Room: Virtual 38
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the past two decades, peri-urban space in Mexican cities has been contested by a model of financialised housing that has contributed dramatically to urban expansion. Supported by a narrative of finance as an enabler of homeownership (Aalbers 2017), this model resulted in massive single-family low-income developments located in the peripheries of cities, away from employment hubs and basic urban services. Recognising the role of financialised housing in promoting urban expansion, the federal government introduced the Urban Containment Perimeters (UCPs) in 2013, a policy to direct subsidies for the development of low-income housing towards certain areas closer to the cities’ urban core. These changes in housing policy had implications on the role of real estate developers and their variegated responses to the new restrictions on location determined their success or failure to adapt to the policy. Taking the case of Mexico City, this paper relies on empirical evidence to understand how the implementation of the UCPs policy was navigated by real estate developers and how changes on their strategies implied shifting their focus to different market segments and/or changes on the spatial distribution of housing projects. My focus on the interactions between real estate developers and planning officials also reveals different power relations and strong links between housing financialization (operationalised through real estate developers) and urban governance. A critical reading of the UCPs implementation in Mexico, therefore, provides empirical evidence of the implications of using financialised housing as a driver of urban development.

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