Urban assets and the financialisation fix: land tenure, renewal and path dependency in the city of Birmingham

John R. Bryson, Rachel Ann Mulhall, Meng Song & Richard Kenny (2017)

Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 10(3), p. 455–469.

Abstract. Cities are places of incremental decision-making involving complex negotiations that produce accumulations of urban assets and path dependency. The ownership, control and co-ordination of urban land and its transformation into an investment asset is a key link between economic interests and urban activities that come together in site-based “financialisation fixes”. A financialisation fix combines a development solution for a specific site with a financial model creating a locally embedded asset. This article examines how land tenure (freehold versus leasehold rights) influences the transformation of a city and the role a local authority plays in the financial management of land assets. This includes an analysis of the application of financialisation to urban assets and the first tax increment financing scheme of 1875.

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