11.S938
The Financial Architecture of the City

This class examines the recent turn toward the financialization of basic municipal services, assets, and infrastructures.  After much criticism of the impacts of full-out privatization of these local-level provisions in the late twentieth- and early turn of the twenty-first century across lower-income cities especially, public sector officials in both high- and low-income countries have expressed renewed interests in tapping into various gradients and mechanisms of private-sector participation in public services.  What are the latest trends therein and what are emerging implications for improvements in the efficiencies of services and infrastructures, as well as their accessibility and affordability in different global contexts?  In short, what is the new financial architecture of urban development and how does it matter?  We will leverage recent case studies to examine the characteristics of financialization and its implications for urban development across different geographies, including new fintech mechanisms, debt instruments like social impact and green bonds, and the rise of dedicated infrastructure funds in private equity.