News & Events

Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar: Alice Romainville (ULB)

15 October 2014 , Department of Geography, VUB, 12:00-14:00

Informal academic seminars to share research results, working papers, or anything else that is in progress, and to get feedback, opinions and ideas from colleagues. The Cosmopolis Lunch Seminars are open to everyone.

Alice Romainville - The Financialization of Housing Production in Brussels

My research deals with the production of housing in Brussels in the 2000s, particularly by the private sector. I use the information collected by the local administrations when delivering building permits to identify and examine, on a large scale, the companies involved in housing development projects. Other databases are used to characterize these developers, in particular regarding their shareholding structure, the location of their headquarters, their main economic activity, etc. Informations about the shareholders were collected with the hypothesis that the type of shareholding structure, and therefore the origin of the capital involved, could determine the size and type of development projects sought by these companies, and therefore their spatial strategies and their impact on the socio-spatial divisions of the city. The connections between the developers and the finance sector are also investigated, in order to assess to what extent the production of housing today can be considered as financialized. The research covers nearly 700 distinct companies, having created together approx. 10 000 housing units in the past years. The method permitted to identify different types of developers. The 'market share' of each category is analyzed, as well as the spatial pattern of their investments. Each type is illustrated by examples.