What is Governed in Cities: Residential Investment Landscapes and the Governance and Regulation of Housing Production – WHIG

What is Governed in Cities

Residential Investment Landscapes and the Governance and Regulation of Housing Production

How are residential investment flows in Paris, London and Amsterdam governed?

This project aims to study the relationships between contemporary investment flows in the residential real estate markets of major metropolitan centres and the governance arrangements/public policy instruments that are designed to regulate them. <br /><br />In detail, the objectives are as follows: <br /><br />• To document and describe the main public and private actors involved in housing production, and to provide an in-depth comparative analysis of the scale, origin and nature of international and domestic private investment flows in residential property<br />• Assess the impacts of new investment landscapes on the governance of the residential built environment through case studies of major urban development projects.<br />• Critically assess and compare the regulatory structures, governance processes and formal and informal policy instruments that shape housing production.<br />• Examine and compare how power is exercised <br />• Assessing the social and economic impacts of regulation and investment on the production of new residential environments

This work is based on a comparative and interdisciplinary methodology. Our case studies focus on the Amsterdam metropolitan region, Greater London and Greater Paris.

Interviews are conducted in the three metropolises, with the private and public actors concerned.

The RCA database is used in all three cases to analyse the precise nature, origin and geography of the investments.

The work undertaken has already made it possible to highlight some of the characteristics of residential investment in the three metropolises.

As far as the Paris case is concerned, the public data used reveal precisely the very strong domination of individuals (as residents or landlords) and social landlords in these investments. The role of legislation on housing, taxation, banking and insurance was also highlighted to shed light on this situation, as well as the considerable room for manoeuvre left to «multi-investors«, who act in their own name or via legal entities.

The use of the «RCA« database confirms the weakness of investment flows allocated to residential asset classes by major investors (institutional, pension funds, etc.) in France, including in Paris. In this respect, the French metropolis differs greatly from London.
However, recent transactions indicate a renewed interest of major investors in residential property.

The progress of the research programme is in line with the objectives set, despite the constraints linked to the health crisis.

The French team is working in close and regular contact, and the level of coordination with the London and Amsterdam teams is also very satisfactory.

The first publications are currently being prepared.

Antoine Guironnet, « Quand la finance déloge les habitants des métropoles », Métropolitiques, 20 avril 2020

To come:
Francesco Findeisen, «The Financialization of Housing in Large Cities »
Nordine Kireche: Understanding residential investment in Paris area: the key of French national framework«

This proposal draws on a precise comparative, inter-disciplinary methodology to examine the inter-relationships between contemporary investment flows into the housing markets of major metropolitan centres and the governance arrangements and public policy instruments that are designed to regulate them. Our case studies are the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, Greater London, Grand Paris, and Greater Tokyo. The proposal is timely as major cities have been faced with unprecedented development pressures as their populations and economies have expanded and their built environments have become highly attractive locations for global investment. These pressures have been particularly acute in the production and consumption of housing, where the impacts of investments on markets, citizens, and places are generating a widely perceived crisis and set of governmental challenges to produce affordable housing. The proposal draws on two streams of analysis: investment landscapes and regulatory/governance landscapes to examine, both systematically and comparatively, the types of investment that are shaping housing production and the public policy instruments that are in place to regulate them and their impacts. The research meets an increasingly urgent need to develop better understandings of the complex relationships between market functionalities, urban politics, planning and governance arrangements in a context of escalating political tensions between different socio-economic groups.

Project coordinator


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM, Geography, Planning and International Development
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON, Bartlett School of Planning UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON, Bartlett School of Planning

Help of the ANR 409,860 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2019 - 36 Months

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