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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 4: City infrastructure provision and geographical inequalities in the UK’s centralised state

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

Extract

The construction of the UK’s distinctive “modern infrastructural ideal” is outlined marked by its highly centralised, top-down and national framework of urban managerialism, Keynesian welfarism and spatial Keynesianism. The fragmentation of city infrastructure provision under “splintering urbanism” is explained in relation to urban entrepreneurialism, liberalisation, privatisation and financialisation. Focusing upon the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the national and city prioritisation of infrastructure as a focus for economic recovery, growth and modernisation is set out. National and local statecraft and restructuring is being driven by austerity, limited decentralisation and the new informal governance of deal-making and deals. The financialising process is being shaped by the city statecraft of national and local government alongside financial actors and mediated by the UK’s highly centralised and risk-averse governance structures. The geographies of recent infrastructure investment are detailed, marked by a spatially skewed national and London global city-region orientation and uneven patchwork of collective provision.

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