From global to urban semi-periphery: The evolution of post-crisis housing production in Lisbon

Authors: Rafaella Lima*, University of Sheffield
Topics: Urban Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: semi-periphery, transnational real estate investment, housing development, developer strategies, subordinate financialization, southern Europe
Session Type: Virtual Paper
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Lisbon, a city profoundly affected by the 2008 global financial crisis and ensuing troika-imposed austerity measures, subsequently emerged as a top investment destination for global real estate investors. While numerous studies have explored the impact of tourism and investment into small-scale luxury housing in contributing to rising house prices and gentrification in the city (Barata-Salgueiro et al., 2018; Cocola-Gant & Gago, 2019; Montezuma & McGarrigle, 2019), less attention has been paid to the recent entry of pan-European, equity-rich investors and developers who have focused on large-scale, new-build projects outside the city centre, often aimed at an ill-defined ‘Portuguese middle class’. This paper takes a unique multi-scalar, 'dual periphery' approach to understand how Lisbon as a ‘semi-peripheral’ location (Rodrigues, Santos & Teles 2016) was made amenable to investment from ‘core’ countries, and how these large-scale investor-developers then facilitated the transfer of capital into more peripheral areas of the city. This involves a close examination of the actors, processes and strategies behind specific development projects. Drawing on interviews with developers and other real estate professionals, as well as industry events and literature, this paper contributes to debates on peripheral or subordinate financialization (Büdenbender & Aalbers 2019; Pósfai & Nagy 2017), examining specifically how core-periphery relations are both reflected and reproduced in housing development.

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