Volume 43  Issue 4  July 2019

In This Issue...

This collection of articles explores land and economic development and the financialization of the built environment. The first three articles examine landed property development, related property right transformations and changing social organizations, in India, China and post-socialist Warsaw respectively. All deploy and engage with a theoretical perspective of accumulation by dispossession. In both India and China, local histories and social conditions influence and lead to the specific forms of accumulation. Balakrishnan describes how agrarian landed property has been recombined with new cooperative development. Kan demonstrates that peri-urban village communities were coopted into the role of corporatist market players seeking rents from land development. In Warsaw, Kusiak reveals that the judicial property restitution, known as ‘reprivatization’, facilitates accumulation by dispossession. These analyses are extremely sensitive to the local culture and political contexts, demonstrating a variegated form of accumulation by dispossession.

The following set of papers expand the concept of financialization in the contexts of post-socialist cities, post-crisis European cities and cities in the Global South. Büdenbender and Aalbers interrogate the inflow of global capital into the making of a new business district in Warsaw. Waldron explains that in post-crash Ireland planning systems are being transformed to adopt a concept of ‘financial viability’ which facilitates the finance-led regime of urban development. In Lisbon, Lestegás finds a shift from credit-fueled suburbanization to tourist-driven gentrification, which links spatial transformation with financialization in Southern European cities. Similarly, according to Erol, the financialization of the Turkish housing market has created new residential geographies. As another spatial outcome of financialization and its crisis, Gourzis and Gialis explore the spatial change of unemployment in the Greek capital metropolitan region and suggest that in the post-crisis era the halt of capital switching from production to the built environment generates significant impacts on the construction industry. Lastly, a slightly standalone paper on the sharing economy nevertheless points to another direction of financialization beyond the built environment. This is platform capitalism, which Pollio presents as an alternative genealogy of Uber development in Cape Town.

The articles in this collection are strongly themed under capitalist financialization and its combination with and impacts on variegated local geographies. The authors interrogate key political economic concepts such as spatial fixes, accumulation by dispossession, capital switching and financialization, and demonstrate concrete pathways (‘judicial technologies’, ‘development viability’, ‘land commodification’, ‘agricultural cooperatives’) and spatial outcomes (peri-urbanization, business district construction, redistribution of unemployment, gentrification). This collection demonstrates that the key concepts of critical urban scholarship continue to fascinate researchers to explore their analytical values in variegated contexts.

— Fulong Wu

This issue’s Interventions pieces offer critical assessments of three ideas that have gained prominence in circles of urban policy and practice. Taking on the ideas of ‘good governance’; ‘transit-oriented development’, and Richard Florida’s diagnosis and solutions to the ‘global urban crisis’, this issue’s authors draw on empirical analyses and contextualized understandings to warn against the uncritical embrace of popular urban ideas. Responding to the predominance of good governance explanations for development outcomes, Tobias Franz draws from field research in Colombia to demonstrate the importance of contextualized understandings of power structures and elite interests—understandings neglected in ‘good governance’ models—to explain variations in regional economic development. In the second piece, Mattias Qviström, Nik Luka and Greet De Block argue that given the influence that transit-oriented development (TOD) has garnered in smart growth and sustainable planning efforts, the concept is due for a critical assessment and improvement. The authors question the canonical notion of the circle defined by the 10-minute walking radius, noting the normative framing of place it constructs, and propose instead a more relational geography. Seth Schindler and Jonathan Silver provide similarly sharp critique in their essay ‘Florida in the Global South’, in which they unpack the Eurocentric assumptions abut urbanization entailed in Richard Florida’s characterization of the new urban crisis and its uncritical application to cities in the Global South. Each of these assessments offer useful reflections on how certain ideas gain currency and find application in ways or locations in which they may not be relevant.

— Liza Weinstein



Recombinant Urbanization: Agrarian–urban Landed Property and Uneven Development in India

Accumulation without Dispossession? Land Commodification and Rent Extraction in Peri‐urban China

Legal Technologies of Primitive Accumulation: Judicial Robbery and Dispossession‐by‐Restitution in Warsaw

How Subordinate Financialization Shapes Urban Development: The Rise and Fall of Warsaw’s Służewiec Business District

Financialization, Urban Governance and the Planning System: Utilizing ‘Development Viability’ as a Policy Narrative for the Liberalization of Ireland’s Post‐Crash Planning System

Lisbon After the Crisis: From Credit‐fuelled Suburbanization to Tourist‐driven Gentrification

New Geographies of Residential Capitalism: Financialization of the Turkish Housing Market Since the Early 2000s

Dismantled Spatial Fixes in the Aftermath of Recession: Capital Switching and Labour Underutilization in the Greek Capital Metropolitan Region

Forefronts of the Sharing Economy: Uber in Cape Town


Why ‘Good Governance’ Fails: Lessons from Regional Economic Development in Colombia

Beyond Circular Thinking: Geographies of Transit‐Oriented Development

Florida in the Global South: How Eurocentrism Obscures Global Urban Challenges—and What We Can Do about It

Book Reviews

Barry D. Solomon and Kirby E. Calvert (eds.) 2017: Handbook on the Geographies of Energy. Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar

Anke Schwarz 2017: Demanding Water: A Sociospatial Approach to Domestic Water Use in Mexico City. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag

Chiara Tornaghi and Chiara Certomà (eds.) 2019: Urban Gardening as Politics. Abingdon and New York: Routledge

Gordon C.C. Douglas 2018: The Help‐yourself City: Legitimacy and Inequality in DIY Urbanism. New York: Oxford University Press

Amanda Huron 2018: Carving out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, DC. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press