Who is the “Crowd” in Urban Crowdfunding Platforms?

 April, 24, 2017, 16-17:30 h. Sala de Graus. Facultat d’economia i empresa, Avinguda Diagonal, 690

Cities are ever more augmented by a variety of technology-enabled platforms that allow for quick exchanges of information, services, surplus capacity, entrepreneurial energy, and money. In this presentation, I assess the rapid emergence of crowdfunding platforms for real estate investment in the United States. Drawing on a survey of emergent real estate portals and legal research into federal rulemaking around crowdfunding under the 2012 JOBS Act, I describe the legal, political, and market conditions that have allowed crowdfunding to emerge. Whereas crowdfunding platforms are promoted as innovative and disruptive to established financial channels, in many ways they offer little functional alternative to banks and other investment intermediaries. However, I argue that part of what is guiding these platforms toward more traditional “extractive” accumulation is administrative law, which is regulating how these sites can recruit users and setting boundaries that determine who can participate in these platforms.

Discussant: Jaume Valls

Professor of management and business administration UB

Rachel Weber
Rachel WeberProfessor in Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago
Rachel Weber is a Professor in the Urban Planning and Policy Department and a Faculty Fellow at the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches courses and conducts research in the fields of economic development, urban policy, and public finance. She is the author of Swords into Dow Shares: Governing the Decline of the Military Industrial Complex and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning, a compilation of 40 essays by leading urban scholars. Her latest book, From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago, was recently published by the University of Chicago Press. Recent articles on infrastructure privatization and real estate cycles have appeared in the Journal of Cultural Economy, Urban Studies, and the Journal of Planning Education and Research. During her AY 2016-17 sabbatical at the University of Barcelona she is researching how “progressive” mayoral administrations elected after the crisis balance their simultaneous antipathy toward and dependence on the financial sector.

In addition to her academic responsibilities, she has served as an advisor to planning agencies, political candidates, and community organizations on issues related to financial incentives, property taxes, and neighborhood revitalization. She was appointed to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama´s Urban Policy Committee in 2008 and by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Tax Increment Financing Reform Task Force in 2011 to provide recommendations to his new administration for reforming this financing tool.