Daniel Ferman-Leon

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Cornell U.

Grant number

Gr. 9993

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Ferman-Leon , Daniel (Cornell U.) "The Financialization of Racialized Geographies: Real Estate Investment and Housing Insecurity in Kansas City"

In recent years, the Kansas City metropolitan area (KC) has drawn interest from out-of-state and even international developers and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). This expanding influx of private equity is ushering in rapid development, demographic shifts, and early signs of gentrification. While local landlords, developers, and city officials remain enthusiastic and anticipate growth and prosperity, community organizers have begun raising concerns over rising housing insecurity, a shrinkage in affordable housing, and incidents of displacement. My study explores how the heightened investment, ownership, and speculation in KC’s rental housing market entangles the everyday lives of low-income, racialized, and undocumented renters with the investment strategies, financial practices, bureaucratic routines, and calculative techniques of local landlords, out-of-state developers, financial analysts, and city officials. Starting in Kansas City and ending in Chicago, I examine how the escalation of housing insecurity, on the one hand, and the financialization of rental housing, on the other, connects the lives of precarious tenants and real estate financiers across space and time. Through participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and textual and discursive analysis, this research explores how the life projects and housing biographies of tenants are mutually constituted by the market temporalities generated by real estate investors.