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Abstract

Spurred by the conviction that not only financial capital but also changes in finance and changes in its relations with non-financial activities have immense and complicated consequences for ongoing processes of urban redevelopment, this article puts the presently separate financialization and urban redevelopment literatures in conversation. The article begins with a review of the financialization literature, outlining and evaluating four different approaches to the topic and seeking to consider what, if anything, they might have to offer to an area of inquiry that has long considered finance to be a central concern. The second section examines how financial capital has been analyzed in the urban redevelopment literature since the pioneering work of David Harvey in the 1970s. The final section examines how financialization has played out in the medium-sized port city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Drawing on interviews with financiers and property developments, as well as secondary research materials, the study describes how a recent urban design process in Halifax enlisted urban images and ideas to rewrite development regulations, eliminate popular political involvement in the development approvals process, and lever open the downtown landscape to the whims of worldwide financial markets. The essay concludes that studies of urban redevelopment would indeed gain something by engaging with the financialization literature, so long as the former continue to attend not just to financial capital but also to the material and ideological mechanisms through which property is continually reproduced as a financial asset.