2019-11-18Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21110
The temporalities of financialization
Infrastructures, dominations and openings in the Thames Tideway Tunnel
In the last decade, a bourgeoning body of literature has explored the influence of financial actors, techniques and motives in the urban development of North American and European cities. Less has been said about the influence of finance on the temporalities of urban production and urban life. Yet finance is, at its most basic, the management of debt; and debt is, simply put, the deferral of payment; thus, by its very nature, financialization introduces new temporal dynamics into whatever object of investment it engages with. This paper examines these temporal dynamics in the financialized production of a large-scale urban infrastructure project, the Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT), a 25-km ‘super-sewer’ beneath the River Thames where it runs through the center of London. From analyzing how financial actors, motives, and instruments influence the planning and implementation of this massive sewer expansion, it traces the ways in which the temporal characteristics of finance have repercussions in the urban space that privilege financial interests. This analysis contributes both conceptual and empirical insights. Firstly, it provides a theoretical conceptualization of the ways in which the temporalities of financialization shape the material production of the city. Secondly and more empirically, our case analysis allows us to schematize the different ways in which the financialization of the TTT project shapes the temporalities of its production, with wide-ranging political, economic and environmental implications. In summary, the paper closes a crucial gap in understanding how different temporalities of finance intersect in the making of contemporary cities.
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This article was supported by the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.