[25-4] The right-to-the-city: Financialized Capitalism, Gentrification & Populism

Amsterdam since the 1990s has seen a rapid decline in social housing. The city has been thoroughly gentrified, cheap grocery-stores increasingly replaced by trendy restaurants and coffeehouses and with many residents being pushed out of what used to be working-class neighborhoods. The new and more affluent residents (often referred to as ‘yuppies’) have to take on massive mortgages in order to afford apartments that often used to be social housing. Whose interest is really being served here?

This evening we will start with political economy and the global and then later delve into how the consequences play out locally. We will examine the interaction between global financialization and national systems of housing and finance. How is housing and real estate connected to global economic balances, i.e. the rise of corporate profits and relative decline of the global wage share and the resulting ‘wall of money’: the global pool of liquid assets that seeks investment opportunities? And what about transnational wealth elites that are buying residential properties as an investment rather than a primary residence?

In the second part we will look at the impact of neoliberal housing policy on people’s sense of self. What are the affective consequences on people when a house becomes an investment rather than just a home, and what about the people that cannot make such an investment and who feel they are being displaced? What is the connection between the decline of social housing and neoliberalism and right-wing populism?

Invited guest speakers are Rodrigo Fernandez (Leuven University/SOMO) who is currently involved in a research project on “the real estate/financial complex” and is specialized in tax avoidance, tax havens and shadow banking.

And Paul Mepschen, whose work deals with the politics of belonging, citizenship, and urban politics in Western-Europe. For his dissertation on the politics of autochthony and culture in the Netherlands he carried out ethnograpic research in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, focusing on the plans for the large-scale restructuring of the district.

Door open at 19:30. Starts somewhere after 20:00


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