The Financialisation and Platformisation of Urban Places of (Re-)Production

Berfelde, Rabea. 2023. The Financialisation and Platformisation of Urban Places of (Re-)Production. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The thesis advances an understanding of the interconnections between emerging urbanisms, modes of urban accumulation and their relationship to diverse forms of labour agency, practices and politics. It examines the reconfiguration of urban sites of production and reproduction under financialised service economies, using Berlin as a field of inquiry. Financialisation — a process whereby a shift in importance from industrial production to the financial sector takes place — has led to a proliferation of rent-seeking strategies that affect urban economies. The thesis asks how this intersects with the multiplication of forms and sites of labour, and shapes spatial production on the ground.

The reconfiguration of urban sites of production and reproduction is analysed through two case studies: (1) the operations of Airbnb and (2) coworking spaces in Berlin. The two case studies shed light on the convergence between technology and real estate speculation shaping contemporary urbanisation. The first case study on Airbnb’s operations in Berlin analyses the reconfiguration of the home in relation to home sharing practices facilitated by the platform. It shows how Airbnb hosts turn to home-sharing as an income-generating strategy to offset the precarity resulting from insecure self-employment, rising rents and limited mobility in the housing market due to gentrification processes in the city. The research shows how Airbnb is linked to the contradictions of financialised urbanism through the way it leverages the crisis conditions resulting from the reorganisation of welfare.

The second case study explores the reconfiguration of the workplace in relation to coworking as an evolving, diversifying and commercialising phenomenon. Through research on independent coworking spaces in Berlin, it discusses how coworking spaces animate a cultural shift in thinking about labour productivity and its relationship to workplace design and organisation. Through an analysis of WeWork’s venture capital-funded business model and the growing market for coworking platforms, the thesis discusses financialisation and platformisation tendencies within the coworking sector.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


financialisation, platformisation, immaterial labour, social reproduction, Airbnb, coworking spaces, critical urban theory, post-workerism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


30 September 2023

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

09 Oct 2023 13:55

Last Modified:

09 Oct 2023 13:58


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