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Financialising City Statecraft and Infrastructure

Andy Pike, Peter O’Brien, Tom Strickland, Graham Thrower and John Tomaney

Financialising City Statecraft and Infrastructure addresses the struggles of national and local states to fund, finance and govern urban infrastructure. It develops fresh thinking on financialisation and city statecraft to explain the socially and spatially uneven mixing of managerial, entrepreneurial and financialised city governance in austerity and limited decentralisation across England. As urban infrastructure fixes for the London global city-region risk undermining national ‘rebalancing’ efforts in the UK, city statecraft in the rest of the country is having uneasily to combine speculation, risk-taking and prospective venturing with co-ordination, planning and regulation.
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Chapter 6: Sell, hold or buy? Privatising, managing, owning and acquiring city infrastructure assets

Andy Pike, Peter O’Brien, Tom Strickland, Graham Thrower and John Tomaney

Extract

Within international debates about public asset ownership, management, governance and privatisation, financialisation, decentralisation and austerity are compelling national and local state actors into more “commercial” statecraft in an ongoing and pressing search to generate new capital and revenue resources. This uneven financialising of city statecraft has opened up channels for the entry and influence of financial actors with new relations, market incentives and financial practices. Yet, city government agency is provoking national government and financial actor concerns about risk taking, speculation and competition for assets using relatively low interest rate UK state-backed funds. City statecraft involves a socially and spatially uneven range of strategies, rationales, asset definitions, institutional models and practices. Mixing managerialism, entrepreneurialism and financialism, city statecraft is wrestling with the speculative leverage as well as long-term ownership and management of urban infrastructure assets in UK cities. Uneven geographies of public wealth are the result.

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