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The Sustainability of a Financialized Urban Megaproject: The Case of Sihlcity in Zurich

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Abstract

Financialization and sustainable urban planning are now two major components of urban production and landscape change in Western cities. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how the intervention of financial actors influences urban sustainability in the building of megaprojects, by developing a conceptual framework for analysis and interpretation. This framework aims first to examine the way in which sustainability has been produced by the different actors involved in a real-life situation, and then to place these interactions in their institutional, spatial and temporal context. Consequently, sustainability is understood as a social construct which is the object of negotiations that have led to the making of institutional arrangements in order to allow the project to be carried through. This framework has been constructed from the financial geography and urban geography literature on ‘finance, the city and sustainability’ and from a case study. The latter looks at the regeneration of a brownfield site to create a shopping and leisure complex that was the biggest in Switzerland and was purchased by financial actors.

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  • Thierry Theurillat & Olivier Crevoisier, 2012. "The Sustainability of a Financialized Urban Megaproject: The Case of Sihlcity in Zurich," GRET Publications and Working Papers 04-12, GRET Group of Research in Territorial Economy, University of Neuchâtel.
  • Handle: RePEc:nct:wpaper:04-12
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    File URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2427.2012.01140.x/full
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 1998. "The Approach of Institutional Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 166-192, March.
    2. Thierry Theurillat & Jose Corpataux & Olivier Crevoisier, 2008. "Property Sector Financialization: The Case of Swiss Pension Funds (1992--2005)," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 189-212, December.
    3. Ingrid Nappi-Choulet, 2006. "The Role and Behaviour of Commercial Property Investors and Developers in French Urban Regeneration: The Experience of the Paris Region," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 43(9), pages 1511-1535, August.
    4. Olivier Crevoisier, 2004. "The Innovative Milieus Approach: Toward a Territorialized Understanding of the Economy?," GRET Publications and Working Papers 10-04, GRET Group of Research in Territorial Economy, University of Neuchâtel.
    5. José Corpataux & Olivier Crevoisier & Thierry Theurillat, 2009. "The Expansion of the Finance Industry and Its Impact on the Economy: A Territorial Approach Based on Swiss Pension Funds," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(3), pages 313-334, July.
    6. Alastair Adair & Jim Berry & Stanley McGreal & Norman Hutchison & Craig Watkins & Kenneth Gibb, 2003. "Urban regeneration and property investment performance," Journal of Property Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 371-386, December.
    7. Ellen van Bueren & Ernst ten Heuvelhof, 2005. "Improving governance arrangements in support of sustainable cities," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(1), pages 47-66, January.
    8. José Corpataux & Olivier Crevoisier, 2005. "Increased Capital Mobility/Liquidity and its Repercussions at Regional Level," GRET Publications and Working Papers 10-05, GRET Group of Research in Territorial Economy, University of Neuchâtel.
    9. Igor S Mayer & Ellen M van Bueren & Pieter W G Bots & Haiko van der Voort & Robin Seijdel, 2005. "Collaborative decisionmaking for sustainable urban renewal projects: a simulation - gaming approach," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(3), pages 403-423, May.
    10. José Corpataux & Olivier Crevoisier & Thierry Theurillat, "undated". "The Expansion of the Finance Industry and Its Impact on the Economy: A Territorial Approach Based on Swiss Pension Funds," GRET Journal Papers 07-09, GRET Group of Research in Territorial Economy, University of Neuchâtel.
    11. repec:nct:journl:v:18:y:2010:i:2:p:189-212 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:nct:journl:v:85:y:2009:i:3:p:313-334 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Simon Guy & John Henneberry & Steven Rowley, 2002. "Development Cultures and Urban Regeneration," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 39(7), pages 1181-1196, June.
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    1. repec:bla:ijurrs:v:41:y:2017:i:4:p:555-571 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Eeva-Sofia Säynäjoki & Jukka Heinonen & Seppo Junnila, 2014. "The Power of Urban Planning on Environmental Sustainability: A Focus Group Study in Finland," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(10), pages 1-22, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial actors; public–private partnerships; urban sustainability; territorial and institutionalist approach; urban megaproject; Switzerland; Zurich;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies

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