The Bartlett School of Planning


London Planning Seminar: Demolishing the Present to Sell of the Future?

07 December 2017, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

London Landscape

The emergence of 'finacialised' municipal entrepreneurialism' in London

Event Information

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Mike Raco


G.01, Central House 14 Upper Woburn Place London WC1H0NN

Joe Beswick (NEF and University of Leeds) & Joe Penny (BSP, UCL)


In this talk, we will discuss the emergence of a new mode of urban entrepreneurialism in London by exploring a case study of the state-executed, speculative development and financialization of public land. In response to an intensifying housing crisis and austerity-imposed fiscal constraints, municipalities in London are devising entrepreneurial solutions to deliver more housing. Among these ‘solutions’, we suggest, can be found the early signs of the state-executed financialization of public housing in the UK through the construction of speculative council-owned housing companies that replace existing public housing stock with mixed-tenure developments, creating ambiguous public/private tenancies that function as homes and globally tradable assets. We situate these developments in contrast to earlier modes of entrepreneurialism, identifying a distinct mode of entrepreneurial governance in London: Financialized Municipal Entrepreneurialism. The local state is no longer merely the enabler – limited to providing strategic oversight of the private sector – but financializes its practice in a reimagined commercialized interventionism, as property speculator. We conclude that while proponents of this new mode of entrepreneurialism extol the increased capacity and control it provides, any such gains must be set against longer-term financial, democratic, and political risks.