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Title: Hyperreal estate : the production of new urban real estate markets
Author: Shaw, Joe
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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Recent years have witnessed a surge in the development of real estate data analytics platforms. These devices variously promise a revolution in investment and valuation, leading to a more transparent knowledge of market reality and more objective decision-making. To examine these claims, this research adopts a theoretical framework from STS and critical data studies to examine the ethnographic case study of one prototype data analytics product throughout the early stages of its development and marketing. This product, Dashboard X, was designed to provide large institutional investors with a way to better know which areas of London were currently undergoing gentrification for the purpose of investing in Build-to-Rent housing. This study was followed by a series of interviews and participation in several industry events. By examining the actors emerging around this would-be 'market device', this research explains that Dashboard X and similar platforms are in fact producing and circulating entirely new, subjective, and distinctly situated forms of real estate values, knowledges, and even assets. Furthermore, it is argued Dashboard X entails a series of theoretical and political implications that range from the co-performation of planetary gentrification and the expansion of rentier capitalism, to a 'new urban colonialism' and the greater ontological politics associated with bringing new real estate assets and markets into being. The key theoretical contribution is that these data analytics platforms do little to objectively increase investor rationality in the sense of knowing reality, but that the use of these technologies can nevertheless powerfully control the future trajectories and possibilities of a global real estate market by circulating the values and knowledges needed for its realisation. Hence, these new urban real estate values can precede their realisation in material marketplace reality through data analytics platforms as hyperreal estate.
Supervisor: Dorling, Daniel ; Graham, Mark Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: urban geography ; sociology of technology ; STS ; urban studies ; anthropology ; sociology ; geography