Urban Real Estate Technologies

Genealogies, frontiers, and critiques

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Payne, Will, Sarah Knuth, and Dillon Mahmoudi. 2020. “Urban Real Estate Technologies: Genealogies, Frontiers, and Critiques.” Urban Geography 41 (8): 1033–36. doi:10.1080/02723638.2020.1820678


This is the special issue introduction to Urban Geography (Volume 41, Issue 8, 2020) on Real Estate Technologies organized with Will Payne and Sarah Knuth. The papers in this special issue of Urban Geography began in the material first presented for the “Real Estate Technologies” sessions at the 2017 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. This collection argues that the politics of property manifest in crucial ways through the development and use of urban real estate technologies and that geographers and urban planners are well positioned to offer insights into such technological and political economic mediations, past and present. Organizing questions ask how technologies developed and used for urban real estate: 1) reorder existing exchange practices, spaces, and relationships; 2) capture or create accumulation frontiers; and 3) render property technical, quantifiable, and governable.

Through this collective intervention, we argue that developing a richer engagement with the role of technology, broadly construed, in reshaping urban property relations is both intellectually significant and politically timely for an engaged urban geography. We suggest that all too often, novel players and techniques in urban space aggressively claim the mantle of the innovative and technological, “rendering technical” (Li, 2007) and technocratic broader urban problems and contestations and removing them from democratic disputation.

The issue had phenomenal contributions:

Dalton, Craig M. 2020. “Rhizomatic Data Assemblages: Mapping New Possibilities for Urban Housing Data.” Urban Geography 41 (8): 1090–1108. doi:10.1080/02723638.2019.1645553.

Shatan, Nicholas, and Kathe Newman. 2020. “The State Market Relationship as a Real Estate Technology: FHA Multifamily Development and Preservation, 1934 – Present.” Urban Geography 41 (8): 1065–89. doi:10.1080/02723638.2019.1670571.

Shaw, Joe. 2020. “Platform Real Estate: Theory and Practice of New Urban Real Estate Markets.” Urban Geography 41 (8): 1037–64. doi:10.1080/02723638.2018.1524653.