Financialisation of Built Environments: Urban Governance, Social Geographies, and Sustainability

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


This paper is about the ways in which financialisation of built environments has
impacted upon the politics, social constitution and sustainability of cities. We focus primarily on financialisation of housing, and do so from the methodological
perspective of variegated financialisation: as a generic process that contextually coevolves with related processes such as neoliberalisation and polarisation,
encompassing variegated sets of institutions and social relations. Financialisation is a process whereby privatisation, commodification and securitisation of resources and elements of (built) environments allow for the penetration of financial control and decision-making power into the fabric of societies and environments. Housing is financialised when it is treated above all as a financial asset, i.e. for its exchange value, rather than for its use value. We conclude that financialisation of housing has had severely adverse impacts on democracy, social cohesion and sustainability. Policies for containing financialisation of housing need to include measures to decommodify housing and urban space more generally, institutionalise floors and ceilings on income and wealth, deepen democracy and use-value-oriented decisionmaking, and replace market-fundamentalist ideology with egalitarian ideas that recognise our interdependence, how we mutually constitute one another, how we are
dependent upon and owe solidarity to others.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov

Publication series

NameFESSUD Working Paper Series
ISSN (Print)2052-8035
ISSN (Electronic)2052-8035

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social and Economic Geography

Free keywords

  • Financialisation
  • Built Environment
  • Housing
  • Variegated Capitalism
  • Comparative Urbanism
  • Urban Governance
  • Social Geographies
  • Sustainability


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