Evolving market infrastructures: The case of assetization in UK social housing

Thomas Wainwright, Graham Manville

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Researchers in economic geography have recently turned to examine the rental sector, particularly how institutional investors have begun to reshape the provision of housing. Following the politics of financialization, the built environment and social relations surrounding residential accommodation have been reconfigured to maximize opportunities for capital accumulation. While scholars have further developed their interest in rental markets, by directing their attention to the financialization of social housing, this burgeoning area remains comparatively understudied, particularly concerning the metrics that are crucial in facilitating assetization. In our article, we seek to provide new insight into the financialization of UK housing associations, to advance understanding of how metrics extend the reach of the financialization into the sector, but how these metrics have also been used to both tactically marginalize and reveal social value for different types of financial actors. First, drawing upon research that has studied the creation of assemblages that are critical to assetization, we seek to explore how different financial stakeholders develop new, competing metrics and frameworks that best meet their own needs. Second, we uncover how new metrics are central in reasserting the role of nonfinancial politics in financialization, through the reprioritization of social value in housing association bonds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-79
Number of pages23
JournalEconomic Geography
Issue number1
Early online date24 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • assetization
  • environmental, social and governance (ESG)
  • financialization
  • housing associations
  • social investment

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