The Expatriate Real Estate Complex: Creative Destruction and the Production of Luxury in Post‐Socialist Prague


This article explores the influence of international financial capital on the production of exclusionary housing markets and spatialities in the city of Prague, Czech Republic. It focuses on the regeneration of Karlín, a district of Prague increasingly defined by the presence of luxury housing and high‐specification office developments. Through a critical discussion of two private companies heavily implicated in the renewal of the district, it is possible to examine the ways in which these actors are contributing to this regeneration. I argue that the regeneration of the district is intimately bound up with processes of capitalist uneven development that couple networks of foreign investors with local municipal authorities through an asymmetric set of power relations. These relations are heavily skewed in favour of the private sector, and the complexity of the linkages between these actors makes meaningful regulation of foreign investment extremely challenging. I also suggest that such practices should not be seen as a transitory position between state socialist planning mechanisms and mature ‘Western’ practices of regeneration, but rather as explicitly post‐socialist in nature, and only as a partial reading of a number of different post‐socialisms, instead of being seen as representative of a singular ‘post‐socialist condition’.