Housing development related financialization by the inner city transformation in Berlin since 1990

The dissertation project focusses on the transformed production of housing in relationship with the increasing significance of finance issues, both for developers and homeowners, but also for the conceptualization of housing as mean of reproduction. In recent years cities have experienced a profound transformation, which can be perceived at least in an altered development of housing space. The initial hypothesis of my research is that this urban transformation is evidence of new processes of production of space due to an increasing financialization. With the growing importance of finance-issues, the already significant role of urbanization as part of the process of accumulation becomes particularly relevant.

The departing point of my project is the question about the spatial consequences of changing conditions in the production of housing in context of financialization. The changing processes in the production of housing and the changing demands of the various stakeholders is examined with a focus on the construction of residential buildings – a typical field of welfare and planning policy. The research design consists of a theoretical discussion and the empirical verification of the argument. First, theories of urban development and rent are discussed together with current debates on financialization, with the aim to expound the characteristics of a financialised production of housing in today’s transformation of cities. The empirical part of the thesis analyzes in detail how the changing conditions of financialization are achieved by the construction of residential buildings. The analysis looks at the investment-expectations of investors, political agendas, goals and regulations, as well as the patterns of materialization of urban development projects. The spatiality of financialization processes is analyzed on the example of concrete housing projects that have been built in the inner city of Berlin since 1990. Objectives, instruments, actors and concepts in a range of residential projects are compared with such of previous developments and contrasted with the characteristics of financialization.

Result of the research is an empirically grounded discussion about the „spatial fixity“ of housing-financialization on the basis of newly constructed residential property in Berlin. The research enriches the discussion of urban restructuring from a neglected perspective and extends the geographical debate by a detailed spatial scale that makes it accessible for the planning discussion and practice.

Kontakt: Laura Calbet i Elias: laura.calbet@isr.tu-berlin.de