Constructing Solidarities for a Humane Urbanism

Production of Displacement in Cities of Late Capitalism

How are the processes of poor people’s urban displacement produced? What are the larger processes and forces that anti-displacement and anti-eviction movements fight against? In this module, you will learn to identify how neoliberal policies produce their devastating effects around the globe. Michael Goldman's presentation will draw your attention toward a critical contemporary feature of neoliberal governance: the financialization of urban space. What does it mean, for example, that 50% of India’s economic growth is derived from financial capital as opposed to manufacturing? 
Goldman argues that the growth of financial profits has to do with the policies thriving with risk and crisis, seeing these policies as opportunities for further accumulation of wealth. For this module, finance refers to the creation of wealth through the management of wealth and debt, instead of producing value through manufacturing goods or providing services. After the 2008 financial crisis, for instance, a consortium of a few financial institutions worldwide, driven by low crisis-induced prices, purchased the debt and depressed assets of cities like Chicago and New Delhi, taking over vital public services and infrastructures such as Chicago’s Skyway and parking meters and lots. By monopolizing control over indispensable public infrastructure, these financial institutions ensure their own high returns. In addition to accumulating profits, financial actors set the path for the city to develop according to a new urban culture of high-risk and highly volatile speculation predicated on turning all we experience, own, and participate in into potential assets to be traded, rather than enjoyed or shared.  Consequently, exclusion and displacement are becoming the new norms of urban life, disproportionately affecting already marginalized communities but spreading across urban and rural populations. Ultimately, this module will direct your attention to the different forms of displacement that have become central for the financialization of urban space. We invite you to think about neoliberal development’s consequences for our cities, communities, and ecologies. 

Reading Suggestions

Fields, D. (2015). Contesting the financialization of urban space: Community organizations and the struggle to preserve affordable rental housing in New York City. Journal of Urban Affairs37(2), 144-165.

Goldman, M. (2011). Speculative Urbanism and the Making of the next World City. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 25(3).

Goldman, M. (2015). With the Declining Significance of Labor, Who Is Producing our Global Cities? International Labor and Working-Class History87, 137-164.

Lapavitsas, Costas. (2014). Profiting Without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All. London: Verso.

Miraftab F. (2016). Global Heartland: Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives and Local Placemaking. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Moreno, L. (2014). The Urban Process under Financialised Capitalism. City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action18(3), 244–68.

Rutland, T. (2010). The financialization of urban redevelopment. Geography Compass4(8), 1167-1178.

Rouanet, H., & Halbert, L. (2016). Leveraging finance capital: Urban change and self-empowerment of real estate developers in India. Urban Studies53(7), 1401-1423.

This page has paths:

This page references: