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Fixing financialization in the credit-constrained city

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The financialization of urban development occurs even under conditions of credit constraint. The paper demonstrates that credit scarcity is an important and under-examined driver of policy improvisation and institutional development. Using the case of Tucson, Arizona, we show that local and extra-local interests overlap and cross-pollinate to produce unique hybrids –  geographically specific and contingent institutional forms cultivated by local growth machines to attract outside financial interests. These dynamics are illustrated with a sales-tax-based tax increment financing district that employs “enhanced financings” to attract extra-local sources of debt and equity. We find that the financialization of urban development in the credit-constrained city is not just a process of abstraction, but also of particularization in which extra-local dollars flow through embedded local networks. We conclude with a call for greater attention to the intersections of finance and urban life in “ordinary cities”.
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Keywords: Financialization; credit-constraint; tax increment financing (TIF); urban development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

Publication date: October 21, 2019

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