The directors of urban transformation: The case of Oslo
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionLocal Economy. 2020, 35 (7), 695–713). https://doi.org/10.1177/0269094220988714
We investigate the urban transformation strategies of major developers and other key actors in the context of neoliberalism and its influence on politics, including urban development governance. Drawing primarily on interviews with corporate developers operating in the downtown areas of Oslo, Norway, we show how these influential actors with little formal political responsibility not only shape the physical structures but also significantly influence the social, economic and cultural fabric of the city. While they do not have a coordinated strategy, private developers do aim to transform urban areas to fit the preferences of the middle and upper classes. However, the situation is not as negative and predetermined as many critiques of gentrification processes assume. Besides demonstrating some positive outcomes of local transformation processes, our study shows that a fully gentrified downtown, along with the social exclusion mechanisms, has not been implemented yet.