Dr Callum Ward

Dr Callum Ward

LSE Fellow in Urban Planning and Geography

Department of Geography and Environment

Room No
STC 3.06
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Key Expertise
Urban Political Economy, Land Financialisation, Corporate Research

About me

Callum joined the Department of Geography and Environment in 2021. He previously worked as a Research Fellow at York University, Toronto, investigating rentiership in the tech sector (2019) and at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, focusing on London’s residential real estate market (2019-2021). He holds a PhD in Geography from KU Leuven and a MA in Political Economy from the University of Manchester.

Working at the intersection of economic and urban geography, I utilise mixed methods corporate and elite research to analyse financialisation and its impact on urban governance. This focuses on three overlapping themes:

1) The Mobilisation of Land as a Financial Asset
Much of my work has focused on the process and consequences of treating urban land as a financial asset in post-industrial European cities. Notably, my PhD work contributed to the development of the concept of ‘assetisation’ in combining political economy theories of rent with social studies of finance approaches to valuation.

2) Asset Class War
I am especially interested in the socially contested ways in which risks and rewards are distributed in the process of transforming resources into assets. My recent and ongoing work on this includes case studies on infrastructure financing, the monetisation of personal data by Big Tech companies, and the cladding scandal in the UK housing market.

3) Statecraft in the Planning System
I am currently undertaking research on how the (local) state is navigating the tensions of the asset economy through planning tools such as land value capture, new tenure forms such as Build to Rent, and housing targets. I am especially interested in how the planning system has been imbricated in political projects both domestically with the rise of populism, and internationally with the increasing importance of the ‘geopolitics of real estate’.

Expertise Details

Urban Political Economy; Land Financialisation; Corporate Research; Elite Interviews; Local Government