6: Financialisation and Inequalities: Housing in the Global South

Since the global economic crisis, financialisation of housing is discussed in the literature with a principal focus on early capitalist economies. However, the theoretical discussions remained limited to open up financialisation of housing in emerging economies, where the historical structure of housing provision and financialisation experienced differently. In the emerging economies, where there is an absence of welfare state housing provision, there is a significant number of self-help housing, which in some cases remain ‘informal’ or under an ambiguous land/homeownership. While the empirical and theoretical research on the global south is a growing literature, there is still a need to make an analysis of the emerging economy countries’ experiences of housing provision for different classes under a new set of financial tools. This panel welcomes analysis of financialisation of housing in the Global South, which discusses some potential venues theoretically and empirically: access to affordable housing revisited under the expansion of securitisation and mortgage lending; forms of displacement in different geographical contexts; global real estate investment (residential and commercial) and its impacts on the urban fabric, including uneven development, gentrification and segregation; mass housing and housing development as a part of financialisation of housing; revisiting the right to housing: the role of housing movements and struggles in the financialisation of housing process; the housing precariat, bankable slums; and the role of the state in housing provision. Abstracts (max. 250 words) should be emailed to the panel chair.

Chaired by Özlem Celik (University of Helsinki), ozlem.celik@helsinki.fi

Room 405

Sirma Altun (The University of Sydney)

Where does state end and capital begin? Public housing in Hong Kong and Taipei City

How is urban space produced in Hong Kong and Taipei City, two global cities in East Asia? This broad question constitutes one of the main pillars of my Phd research, which builds on socio-spatial theory and field research I conducted in Hong Kong and Taipei City. In this presentation, however, I will focus specifically on public housing as a vantage point to understand the relations between space, state and society in Hong Kong and Taipei City. Although commonly categorized under the same framework of developmentalist miracles of East Asia or the global cities of East Asia, Hong Kong and Taipei City differ remarkably when one zooms in public housing policies. On the one hand, the roots of the different public housing policies can be traced back to specific histories of what can be termed as colonial developmentalism in Hong Kong and martial law developmentalism in Taipei City. On the other hand, Hong Kong’s Handover to People’s Republic of China and the democratization of Taiwan’s political system has reshaped space, state and society relations from the 1990s. The transformations in Hong Kong’s and Taipei City’s political economy in this period have led to important changes in public housing policies. In this context, this presentation will explore the continuities and ruptures in Hong Kong and Taipei City’s public housing policies since post WWII period. This exploration is built on socio-spatial theory, and more specifically on the question of the production of space; therefore, the presentation situates public housing policy within the broader relations between space, state and society.

Karolin Kautzschmann (Leibniz University Hannover)

Let’s build money! – A theoretical approach to analyse new frontiers of financialization in the built environment


Nikolina Myofa (Harokopio University of Athens)

Social housing in Athens: The role of state in housing provision

This presentation is about the role of the Greek state in housing provision. The Greek housing system, which is part of the wider Southern European model with its residual welfare state, is characterized by a high rate of owner-occupation, low rental rate in the private sector and complete absence of social rental housing. Although the rate of social rental housing is zero and the role of the state in affordable housing provision is weak, it does not mean that there is a complete absence of social housing. The most common form of housing provision in Greece, and specifically in the Metropolitan area of Athens, was the construction of social housing estates, designed by public agencies mainly from the interwar period to 2004. Beneficiaries always belonged either to groups that were victims of wars and natural disasters who were previously living in shacks, or were salaried workers targetted by clientelist policies. These housing estates were always designed for owner-occupation. Hence they never constituted part of the housing stock that could be used directly or in the future as social housing for those who could not access decent housing conditions by their own means

Fernando Toro Cano (University College London)

The financialized representation of the space: The case of Investments Funds

In a context of financialization of housing, this research contributes to develop a deeper understanding of its nature and characteristics. Empirical studies have traditionally analyzed this process through the examination of the level of debt, capital flows and quantitatives approaches, however, the aim of this article is to understand how the financial institutions as the investment funds conceived and represent the space. Through the lens of Lefebvre’s representation of the space theory and implementing a qualitative methodology, three chilean investment funds were analysed through annual reports and unstructured interviews. The main findings across the interpreted information are ordered in concerns, products and numerical codes that these institutions consider fundamental, in that sense, most of the narrative of the space is related to a financial approach and numerical values, where the space, as a commodity, is understood and represented by numbers, code and particular pictures, generating a second derivative of new geographies of the city from relative and relational perspectives, developing and opening new approaches to the field of financialization and its nature.