Financialisation in Planning: the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area and Northern Line Extension

Read my dissertation here.

This thesis discusses how financialisation influenced the planning of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area (VNEBOA) and accompanying Northern Line Extension. The United Kingdom, and London particularly, increasingly adopt financialisation as a method to deliver development and infrastructure, in which speculative real estate investments and the infrastructure it demands are converted into financial products for shareholders of private companies. This research was carried out via desktop review of feasibility studies, promotional materials, business cases, and a number of plans relevant to the VNEBOA, plus 11 interviews with developers, consultants, academics, and public sector employees. It found that in the absence of local and central government funding, local planning authorities entrepreneurialise by providing additional services to developers and maximising land value capture. Developers shape their projects based on the most financially viable schemes but promote them under principles of “placemaking.” Lastly, mega-transport projects financed by the public and funded by the private sector act as public guarantee for private project delivery. These findings support claims that financialisation subjugates the public’s best interest in favour of private profits and limits regulatory autonomy of planning authorities.

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