David BassensVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) / Professor of Economic Geography
Keywords: financial geography, urban political economy, world/global cities, Europeanization
Analysing ethnic credit mechanisms: Urban geographers have long since identified the existence of economic activities in urban settings that hinge on a shared ethnicity among segregated (migrant) communities. Yet, to date little is known to what extent financial transactions, such as the access to credit, interrelate with ethnicity. The thesis aims to study ethnic communities in a number of European cities (e.g. the poor crescent of Brussels), who have to some extent been underserviced by the conventional banking system, as to how access to credit is organized by households and small enterprises. The hypothesis is that these communities have to some extent organized parallel (informal) credit systems beyond the conventional sector that may be based on more responsible community-building values.
Financing Urban Development: In many cities contemporary fiscal austerity measures are putting even more stress in ways by which governments can finance urban development. Recent times have seen “new” ways of doing exactly that: tax increment financing, value capture finance, and other finance models are starting to become common tools. The purpose of this thesis is trace one or more of these finance models in multiple cities and start unpacking the power relations involved in such contexts. Potential foci are the (changed) relation between public and private sector, the rising role of financial intermediaries, and the potentially disruptive consequences on the urban fabric. The thesis also welcome an exploration of alternative models (e.g. community land trusts) which counter these potentially adverse trends.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Department of Geography
Faculty of Science and Bio-Engineering Sciences
Pleinlaan 2, Room F4.53
Tel: +32 2 629 33 82