From Boom To Bubble: How Finance Built The New Chicago

Hardcover | November 20, 2015

byRachel Weber

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During the Great Recession, the housing bubble took much of the blame for bringing the American economy to its knees, but commercial real estate also experienced its own boom-and-bust in the same time period. In Chicago, for example, law firms and corporate headquarters abandoned their historic downtown office buildings for the millions of brand-new square feet that were built elsewhere in the central business district. What causes construction booms like this, and why do they so often leave a glut of vacant space and economic distress in their wake?

In From Boom to Bubble, Rachel Weber debunks the idea that booms occur only when cities are growing and innovating. Instead, she argues, even in cities experiencing employment and population decline, developers rush to erect new office towers and apartment buildings when they have financial incentives to do so. Focusing on the main causes of overbuilding during the early 2000s, Weber documents the case of Chicago’s “Millennial Boom,” showing that the Loop’s expansion was a response to global and local pressures to produce new assets. An influx of cheap cash, made available through the use of complex financial instruments, helped transform what started as a boom grounded in modest occupant demand into a speculative bubble, where pricing and supply had only tenuous connections to the market. Innovative and compelling, From Boom to Bubble is an unprecedented historical, sociological, and geographic look at how property markets change and fail—and how that affects cities.

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During the Great Recession, the housing bubble took much of the blame for bringing the American economy to its knees, but commercial real estate also experienced its own boom-and-bust in the same time period. In Chicago, for example, law firms and corporate headquarters abandoned their historic downtown office buildings for the million...

Rachel Weber is professor in the Urban Planning and Policy Department and a faculty fellow in the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Swords into Dow Shares: Governing the Decline of the Military Industrial Complex and coeditor of the Oxford Handbook for Urban Planning. She was appointe...

other books by Rachel Weber

Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:November 20, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022629448X

ISBN - 13:9780226294483

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why We Overbuild
Part 1 Real Estate Speculations
1 The Rhythm of Urban Redevelopment
2 Fast Money Builds the Speculative City
3 Out with the Old: How Professional Practices Construct the Desire for New Construction
Part 2 Chicago in the 2000s
4 Downtown Chicago’s Millennial Boom
5 Who Overbuilt Chicago?
6 Making the Market for Chicago’s New Skyscrapers
Part 3 Building the Future
7 The Slow Build
Epilogue: Why We Will Continue to Overbuild
Appendix
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Weber’s From Boom to Bubble will appeal to planners, geographers, sociologists, political scientists, and historians who appreciate a critical perspective on global real estate and capital flows and those who study global financial crises. This is outstanding scholarship, and offers deep insights into the dynamic real estate markets of this Millennial era.”