Call for Papers: The Real Estate/Financial Complex International Conference

September (19-)20-22, 2017 (exact start and end time: t.b.d.)

Leuven, Belgium

We have a few openings for speakers at this international conference. I still have to work the numbers but there will probably be a low fee of a maximum of ?100 to cover coffee and a few meals.

We invite presentations that are related to the themes set out below. Please contact Manuel Aalbers ( by July 12 at latest with a title, 150-250 word abstract and your position/affiliation (in Word not PDF).

Conference abstract:

Real estate and finance were at the roots of the global economic crisis that started in 2007. States and their many institutions have also been seen as complicit to the crisis. The connections between real estate (including housing), finance and states remain under-researched and under-theorized. Various political economy traditions have looked into the connection between finance and states, but largely ignored real estate. The field of urban studies includes research on the interdependence of real estate and states, but finance is largely ignored. Moreover, this field is very micro focused, while the various political economy traditions are very macro focused. We not only need a stronger connection between finance and real estate, but also between different scales: local/urban, national and global. We here propose a new metaphor that can help us to centre attention on the interdependencies of real estate, finance and states: the real estate/financial complex, akin the military/industrial complex. The idea is not to introduce a new master concept but to understand the spatialities of contemporary capitalism and bring together a range of literatures including but not limited to: financialization, capital switching, varieties of capitalism, urban studies (e.g. global cities, property-led development, growth machines/coalitions, gentrification, asset-based welfare).

The conference will take place on September 20-22 but a pre-conference lecture may be scheduled on September 19. For those of you that know Annelore and Mirjam: they will publicly defend their respective doctoral theses on September 18 (AH) and 19 (MB), so get in contact with them individually if you?d like to attend.

The conference is organized by the members of the Real Estate/Financial Complex (at KU Leuven/University of Leuven) and received funding from the European Research Council (ERC), the Arenberg Doctoral School (KU Leuven) and the Flemish Government. For details, please visit

Some notable works by Manuel Aalbers:

Aalbers, Manuel. 2003. “Pressure and Suction on Housing Markets: A Critical Reply to Priemus.” European Journal of Housing Policy 3(1):61–81.

Aalbers, Manuel. 2006. “‘When the Banks Withdraw, Slum Landlords Take Over’: The Structuration of Neighbourhood Decline through Redlining, Drug Dealing, Speculation and Immigrant Exploitation.” Urban Studies 43(7):1061–86.

Aalbers, Manuel. 2009. “Geographies of the Financial Crisis.” Area 41(1):34–42.

Aalbers, Manuel. n.d. “How Real Estate Became ‘Just Another Asset Class’: The Financialization of the Investment Strategies of Dutch Institutional Investors.” Retrieved January 4, 2017 (

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2004. “Promoting Home Ownership in a Social‐rented City: Policies, Practices and Pitfalls.” Housing Studies 19(3):483–95.

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2008. “The Financialization of Home and the Mortgage Market Crisis.” Competition & Change 12(2):148–66.

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2009a. “The Globalization and Europeanization of Mortgage Markets.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33(2):389–410.

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2009b. “The Sociology and Geography of Mortgage Markets: Reflections on the Financial Crisis.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33(2):281–90.

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2012. “Socializing Space and Politicizing Financial Innovation/Destruction: Some Observations on Occupy Wall Street.” Belgeo. Revue Belge de Géographie (1–2). Retrieved August 29, 2015 (

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2013a. “Debate on Neoliberalism in and after the Neoliberal Crisis.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37(3):1053–57.

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2013b. “Neoliberalism Is Dead … Long Live Neoliberalism!” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37(3):1083–90.

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2015a. “The Great Moderation, the Great Excess and the Global Housing Crisis.” International Journal of Housing Policy 15(1):43–60.

Aalbers, Manuel B. 2015b. “The Potential for Financialization.” Dialogues in Human Geography 5(2):214–219.

Aalbers, Manuel B. and Brett Christophers. 2014a. “Centring Housing in Political Economy.” Housing, Theory and Society 31(4):373–394.

Aalbers, Manuel B. and Brett Christophers. 2014b. “The Housing Question under Capitalist Political Economies.” Housing, Theory and Society 31(4):422–28.

Aalbers, Manuel B. and Ewald Engelen. 2015. “The Political Economy of the Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Securitization.” Environment and Planning A 47:1597–1605.

Aalbers, Manuel B., Ewald Engelen, and Anna Glasmacher. 2011. “‘Cognitive Closure’ in the Netherlands: Mortgage Securitization in a Hybrid European Political Economy.” Environment and Planning A 43(8):1779–95.

Aalbers, Manuel B. and Kenneth Gibb. 2014. “Housing and the Right to the City: Introduction to the Special Issue.” International Journal of Housing Policy 14(3):207–13.

Aalbers, Manuel B. and Sara Rancati. 2008. “Feeling Insecure in Large Housing Estates: Tackling Unsicherheit in the Risk Society.” Urban Studies 45(13):2735–2757.

Aalbers, Manuel B. and Magdalena Sabat. 2012. “Re-Making a Landscape of Prostitution: The Amsterdam Red Light District: Introduction.” City 16(1–2):112–28.

Aalbers, Manuel B. and Ellen Van Beckhoven. 2010. “THE INTEGRATED APPROACH IN NEIGHBOURHOOD RENEWAL: MORE THAN JUST A PHILOSOPHY?: THE INTEGRATED APPROACH IN NEIGHBOURHOOD RENEWAL.” Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie 101(4):449–61.