David Bassens (VUB), Manuel Aalbers (KU Leuven), Laura Deruytter (VUB), Rodrigo Fernandez (KU Leuven & SOMO)
Lecture series on the urban economy and possible alternatives.
Money plays a crucial role in the city. A look at the skyline of buildings in Brussels shows us the headquarters of private banks and financial regulators, the offices of European lobby firms, and the activities of private funds investing in high value real estate developments. Money is also part of people’s everyday life: when taking a loan to pay off your house, when using a financial service app, when investing in shares through your local bank, when shopping at your local cooperative shop. But also when we pay taxes to see it reinvested in society through the city’s public services and infrastructure. Ultimately, money takes centre stage in political decisions on trade agreements, banking regulations, interest rates, and complex financial product – policy domains seemingly outside our reach and comprehension.
While money plays a crucial role, its workings and effects remain somewhat mysterious. What happens behind the doors of financial offices? What control do you really have over your own money? Following an introductory session, we shed light on different spaces inhabited and shaped by finance, such as housing and real estate; art; the banking industry and FinTech; taxes and lobbying and financial alternatives in everyday life.