Chapter 2: Reconsidering the super-rich: variations, structural conditions and urban consequences
For a long time, social science research paid little attention to the super-rich. The super-rich were not visible as a social problem and were also hard to locate and study. Instead, research tended to focus on the lower strata of society rather than on its upper echelons, while the middle classes only started to receive serious attention in the last few decades. However, evident processes of extreme and persistent income segregation and the emergence of elite enclaves in major cities have shifted the research agenda. The local effects of transnational real estate investments by the super-rich have now started to receive critical and, increasingly, politically charged attention (see Chapters 12 and 13 by Paris and Woods in this volume). There is, for example, increasing debate on the unbalanced attention to high-end real estate development in cities (Cook, 2010); on impacts on local real estate markets and prices that put properties and neighbourhoods out of reach of local residents (Ley and Tutchener, 2001; Ley et al., 2002; Ley, 2010); and on neighbourhoods where (second-home) houses remain unoccupied most of the year (Paris, 2011).
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