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Financialization of Entrepreneurial Urbanism: Neoliberal governance, governmentality, and path-dependent restructuring in the European Union's Cohesion Policy.


I examine the ways in which processes of financialization articulate with regulatory regimes to affect urban governance by taking up the case of Financial Engineering Instruments (FEIs) in the European Union's Cohesion Policy. In the `post-crisis' era of European austerity, FEIs `leverage' EU funds with private capital in order to more efficiently and effectively utilize the funds, amplify their impact, and introduce a "more commercial approach to the regeneration of urban areas". The transformation of these funds from grant assistance to `repayable investments' allows for the financing of public-private `urban regeneration' projects, for which investment decisions are based on standards of economic performance and credit worthiness rather than social necessity. I examine the unfolding discourses and logic driving these regulatory instruments, and argue that as the technology for implementing development policy and shaping socio-spatial relations and subjectivities through particular discourse and practice, these financial instruments are a representation of the growing interdependence between (or co-constitution of) neoliberalism and financialization. The transformation of the EU's development policies is contextualized within its broader geographical political economy, and the European financial and economic crises of 2008.

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