Financialized Berlin: The Monetary Transformation of Housing, Architecture and Polity

Anne Kockelkorn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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A financialized real estate market is both an abstraction of global capital flows and a localized driver of gentrification. Under this premise, architectural form and urban design become a performance of contradicting value formations. Drawing on the methods of urban history, geography, architectural criticism and performative writing strategies, this paper develops a theoretical perspective on the architecture of financialized rental housing based on a relational understanding of architecture and social space. The paper’s point of departure is the financialization of Germany’s social rental housing stock. Recent housing projects undertaken in the metropolitan region of Berlin by the real estate investment companies Vonovia SE and Deutsche Wohnen SE serve as case studies. The analysis identifies five strategies for cost-optimization that, taken together, outline the characteristics of an ideal city of financialization which promotes the destruction of social cohesion in the interests of shareholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-104
Number of pages29
JournalArchitectural Theory Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • affordability
  • architectural heritage
  • Berlin
  • Financialization
  • housing design


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