Geography and Geographic Information Science (GGIS)

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Neoliberal Urbanization and the Pursuit of Class Monopoly Rent

Event Type
Department of Geography & GIS
Room 2049 Natural History Building
May 4, 2023   11:00 am  
Dr. Matthew B. Anderson, Eastern Washington University
This event is free
Originating Calendar
Geography and Geographic Information Science

The paper contributes to the recent renaissance in Marxian land rent theory by examining the dynamics of class monopoly rent in the context of contemporary processes of neoliberal urbanization. It specifically examines the ways in which landowners, developers, and the local state work together to pursue class monopoly rent through a variety of policies and practices normally treated as separate, such as tax-increment financing, discursive-branding, business improvement districts, zoning regulations, and even urban sustainability policies and practices. I implicate each of these practices as fundamentally linked insofar as they function as strategies for myriad invested actors in collaboratively pursuing class monopoly rent. Class monopoly rent has historically been associated with the ways in which landowners collectively form a barrier to capital entry into the market by limiting supply. Drawing on evidence from Portland and Seattle, I reveal a collaborative network of landowners, developers, and state actors whose goal is to increase rents by not just limiting supply, but also enhancing demand within a finite, supply-limited space (defined by socially constructed boundaries). In the process, the multi-scalar dynamic of class monopoly rent is revealed as a core feature of uneven neoliberal urbanization and embedded within the architecture of neoliberal capitalism more broadly.

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