Fixing financialization in the credit-constrained city

Sarah Launius, Mark Kear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The financialization of urban development occurs even under conditions of credit constraint. The paper demonstrates that credit scarcity is an important and under-examined driver of policy improvisation and institutional development. Using the case of Tucson, Arizona, we show that local and extra-local interests overlap and cross-pollinate to produce unique hybrids –  geographically specific and contingent institutional forms cultivated by local growth machines to attract outside financial interests. These dynamics are illustrated with a sales-tax-based tax increment financing district that employs “enhanced financings” to attract extra-local sources of debt and equity. We find that the financialization of urban development in the credit-constrained city is not just a process of abstraction, but also of particularization in which extra-local dollars flow through embedded local networks. We conclude with a call for greater attention to the intersections of finance and urban life in “ordinary cities”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1335-1355
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 21 2019


  • Financialization
  • credit-constraint
  • tax increment financing (TIF)
  • urban development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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