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Funding, financing and governing urban infrastructure

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter O'Brien, Dr Peter O'Neill, Professor Andy Pike



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Sage Publications Ltd., 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This special issue aims to further understanding and explanation of the funding, financing andgoverning of urban infrastructure amidst its engagements with contemporary financialisation.Drawing upon empirical material from international cases from Europe, North America, Africaand Asia, it identifies critical issues to advance work in this area. These themes concern: theimpacts of financialisation upon shifting the definitions and conceptualisations of urbaninfrastructure; the worth of adopting more actor-oriented and grounded approaches tofinancialisation; the importance of affording greater recognition to national and local states as theobjects and agents of financialising relations, processes and practices; the substance andramifications of the emergent informalisation of infrastructure policy-making and governance;and, the implications of financialisation for the evolving and uneven landscapes of urbaninfrastructure provision. The arguments are, first, that how infrastructure is funded, financed andgoverned is integral to explaining socially and spatially uneven infrastructural provision and itsurban development ramifications and, second, the engagements of urban infrastructure withcontemporary financialisation have become central in such accounts. Future research avenues areidentified. These comprise: identifying exactly how revenues are generated from infrastructureassets; specifying the relations of financialisation with other processes such as ‘assetisation’,‘marketisation’ and privatisation; extending the geographical and comparative reach of currentstudies; elaborating the spaces of regulation in negotiating and accommodating infrastructurefinancialisation; and, scrutinising the roles of decentralised powers and resources in financialisingurban infrastructure and exploring its alternatives.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Brien P, O'Neill P, Pike A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Urban Studies

Year: 2019

Volume: 56

Issue: 7

Pages: 1291-1303

Print publication date: 01/05/2019

Online publication date: 14/02/2019

Acceptance date: 19/12/2018

Date deposited: 20/12/2018

ISSN (print): 0042-0980

ISSN (electronic): 1360-063X

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0042098018824014


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