David Bassens

David Bassens
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · Department of Geography

PhD in sciences: geography

About

66
Publications
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Introduction
David Bassens currently works at the Department of Geography, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Additional affiliations
October 2011 - November 2012
Ghent University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (66)
Article
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Spearheaded by major technology companies (Big Tech), digital platforms have rapidly become key infrastructures for accumulation under global financialized capitalism, with consumer convenience and underlying practices of data collection, control and analysis giving rise to platform finance. While financial institutions are partnering with financia...
Article
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According to political economists, the state’s governance of infrastructure is becoming prone to processes of financialization. To date, however, research on how state owners of infrastructure enable and react to the entry of financial logics into such domains remains limited. This paper mobilizes the case of Eandis, a Flemish energy grid company,...
Article
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Advanced producer services have long been theorized as pivotal in organizing the global economy. Finance takes centre stage in the advanced producer services complex as orchestrator of global flows, particularly in underwriting investment and evaluating corporate performance. The ascent of financialized globalization raises the suspicion that key a...
Article
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This article explores the production and impact of advanced services in the Brussels economy, and aims to address three main objectives. Firstly, it provides a portrait of advanced services in Brussels and their spatial dynamics (1995-2014). Second, based on the idea that the emergence of global cities is linked to the socio-spatial polarisation of...
Article
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This paper examines how a restructuring local state repurposes existing government vehicles to navigate financial stress. Witnessing the changing use of intermunicipal companies (IMCs) by municipalities in Flanders (Belgium), we put empirical flesh on the bones of what we conceptualize as the extended local state. Our argument is that, while setup...
Chapter
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Money and finance are often thought of as forming a uniform, frictionless global space. While events in the last decades have certainly showed how monetary and financial practices and events have consequences that span largely across the globe, such global reach of money and finance is far from evenly distributed. Rather, money flows and lumps unev...
Article
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The last decade has seen the adoption of the imaginary of a circular economy (CE) by cities. To date, much of the debate has been technical in orientation, making that the implications of the CE for urban theory and praxis have hitherto not been explored in great depth. ThisDebates and Interventions contribution collects work from diverse disciplin...
Article
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Limited empirical evidence in support of world-city formation has been the 'dirty little secret' of the eponymous research area. In the late 1990s, inspired by Sassen's account of The Global City, the field focused on advanced producer services (APS) firms as primary actors in world-city formation. While generating robust insights into the shifting...
Article
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The circular economy (CE) has become a matter of urban development. A literature review shows that the CE debate is biased toward technology-driven industrial change, while bracketing broader socio-political interests. We address this gap by exploring the political economy of scale of the CE. Looking into the case of Brussels (Belgium), a city that...
Article
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In the Covid-19 pandemic, the immediate concern of European citizens is with the spread of the virus and the public health crisis, with the lock downs and their economic consequences and with the response of governments. The crisis demonstrates the importance of the foundational economy. This is the part of the economy which cannot be shut down bec...
Article
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The rise of Fintech challenges established financial centres and incumbent financial institutions to rethink their strategies to remain obligatory passage points in the age of digitizing finance. To appreciate these changes, it is important to maintain theoretical interchange between developments in financial geography and economic geography, its p...
Article
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The literature on global and world cities points towards a growing concentration of advanced producer services (APS) firms in a restricted number of cities, who execute strategic command and control functions over globalised capitalism. However, relatively little attention has been paid to how APS are located within such cities. We argue that APS l...
Article
Although often embroiled in speculative urban development processes, the construction sector is in many ways fundamental to the social reproduction of the city and the functions it hosts. Moreover, in many contexts, a large and increasingly international labor force underpins the sector. Despite its ambiguity, the construction sector has received l...
Article
This special issue offers a set of methodologies to chart urban elites. Whereas most research has focused on the global super-rich, the authors in this special issue pay specific attention to the multidimensional urban geographies of elite reproduction and transformation, as elites depend on urban contexts for capital accumulation, consumption and...
Article
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The contemporary urban transport debate is increasingly versed in terms of “sustainable” development, placing social and environmental issues on the agenda. However, despite their heterogeneity, sustainable perspectives seldom engage with the explicitly political issues that shape the relationship between transport and urban development. In this pa...
Article
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This paper presents an inquiry into the capacity of transport and mobility studies to critically engage with contemporary policies. Drawing on the conceptualization of circuits of knowledge, the paper scrutinizes the extent to which transport policy agendas are framed around various approaches within academia. An extensive literature review demonst...
Article
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Cultural patronage has since long been a domain where urban elites can showcase a sense of philanthropy. The paper develops a heuristic that starts from cultural patronage activities in order to trace urban elite households and their professional and residential characteristics. The heuristic is deployed in Brussels, Belgium, where we use cultural...
Article
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The rise of financial technology (FinTech) engenders novel business models through integrating financial services and information and communication technologies (ICT). Digital currencies and payments, data mining, and other FinTech applications threaten to radically overhaul the financial sector. This article argues that, while we are becoming awar...
Article
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This paper offers an ex-ante policy analysis of the Zone of Economic Expansion (ZEE) in inner-city neighbourhoods of the Brussels Canal Area. It identifies the anticipated effects by scrutinizing the impact of a similar and already implemented Urban Enterprise Zone – the Zone Franche Urbaine – in the city centre Roubaix (Lille). The key question is...
Article
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By way of rejoinder to commentaries by members of the invisible college of postcolonial urbanism, we further develop issues of praxis regarding engaged pluralism and plead for its usefulness. Engaged pluralism when doing global urban studies depends on a research culture where both deconstructive and reconstructive moments are encouraged. Deconstru...
Article
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This paper engages with postcolonial critiques of global cities research (GCR). We argue that such criticisms tend to be hampered by their tendency to be polemical rather than engaging, as evidenced by both the quasi-systematic misrepresentation of the core objectives of GCR and the skating over of its internal diversity. We present a genealogy of...
Article
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Advanced producer services firms and the highly skilled labour they employ are important indicators for world-city formation, as their activities allegedly grant cities the capabilities to exert command and control over global accumulation processes. To ‘stress test’ this central assumption of global city theory, we apply Burawoy’s extended case me...
Article
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This article critically evaluates the network-centrism of much of contemporary world cities research and queries its capacity to unveil key accumulation processes under financialized globalization. Our object of inquiry is the world city archipelago (WCA), a material yet non-contiguous space of world city ‘islands', which is (re)produced through th...
Article
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Economies across the globe are increasingly undergoing a process of financialization, which denotes the growing dominance of financial logic over previously un-financial domains of life. Economic relations themselves have also changed profoundly since the 1980s when deregulation took off. Since then a global finance-dominated regime of accumulation...
Chapter
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Access to financial services constitutes an important prerequisite for participation in increasingly financialized societies and economies. At the same time, financial exclusion remains commonplace among socioeconomically weaker groups, a phenomenon that tends to coincide with socio-ethnic divides. In this contribution we make a start with analyzin...
Article
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This paper interrogates the enduring yet changing role of world cities as centers of capitalist ‘command and control’ amidst deepening uneven development. By incorporating financialization processes in Friedmann’s (1986) world city hypothesis, we hypothesize that the world city archipelago remains an obligatory passage point for the relatively assu...
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The Eurozone crisis that erupted in 2008 has raised sincere doubts about the durability of political and financial linkages among its member states. This paper associates the resulting political economic stasis of the Eurozone with the coevolution of the financial and monetary system at the European scale. The argument builds on insights from finan...
Article
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This empirical article combines insights from previous research on the level of knowledge-intensive service in metropolitan areas with the aim to develop an understanding of the spatial structure of the global service economy. We use a stepwise regression model with the Globalization and World Cities research network’s measure of globalized service...
Chapter
This chapter1 discusses the relationship between established measurements of service-related world city formation on the one hand and world city functions under global capitalism on the other. A common approach with regard to the former is to measure centrality in office networks of firms that produce advanced producer services (APS) such as financ...
Article
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This article discusses the case of securitization in Islamic finance to tease out what is universal and what is specific about this technique. To do this, the article frames the spatial dispersal of securitization as a form of ‘organizational mimicry’, which highlights that techniques always rely for their functioning on locally rooted ‘cultures of...
Article
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This paper studies the globalization of major African cities through their changing insertion in global airline networks. As such, the paper adds to a growing body of literature that analyzes the role of infrastructure in the formation of world-city networks. We draw on a rich data source that provides longitudinal airline booking data, which can b...
Article
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This paper analyses the importance of ‘Shari’a scholars’ in the Islamic Financial Services (IFS) sector, which has been a growing global practice since the 1970s. Based on Shari’a Law, IFS firms provide banking, finance and insurance respecting faith-based prohibitions on interest, speculation and risk taking. Although IFS firms operate across a va...
Article
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Given major geo-economic shifts in the wake of the global financial crisis, this paper sets out to review major debates in the field of geographies of emerging markets (EM). Observing lingering implicit assumptions about the undirectionality behind the emergence of EM discourses and practices, the paper argues that contemporary processes of South-S...
Article
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This article focuses on the Islamic financial services (IFS) sector, which originated in the Middle East, but is now rapidly becoming a global sector. First, Islamic economic ideology is discussed, which resulted in the foundation of IFS firms after the 1973 oil crisis, and then an overview of the most common IFS is provided. The third part discuss...
Article
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This paper aims to refine earlier research on the geographies of Islamic financial services (IFS) through a study of how cities are being connected through interlocking directorates in Shari’a advisory boards of IFS firms. The relevance of this analysis is discussed against the backdrop of recent critiques of mainstream ‘world cities’ research beca...
Thesis
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This dissertation studies multiple urban geographies of ‘Islamic’, i.e. Shari’a-compliant financial services (IFS) from a ‘decentred’ world city perspective. IFS such as banking, finance, and insurance services are grounded in a discourse of Islamic economics that amongst others prohibits interest-based products, contractual uncertainty, and specul...
Chapter
In this chapter we focus on the command and control functions of cities as indicated by the headquarter locations of major firms. As described in Chapter 1, these functions were integral to Friedmann’s (1986) early work and were also a key part of Sassen’s (1991) global city concept. More recently they have been analysed in detail by Godfrey and Zh...
Conference Paper
This is an empirical paper that measures and interprets changes in intercity relations at the global scale in the period 2000-2008. We draw on the network model devised by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research group to measure global connectivities for 132 cities across the world in 2000 and 2008. A range of statistical techniques is u...
Article
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This is an empirical paper that measures and interprets changes in intercity relations at the global scale in the period 2000-08. It draws on the network model devised by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research group to measure global connectivities for 132 cities across the world in 2000 and 2008. The measurements for both years are adj...
Article
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div class="page" title="Page 1"> Al vroeg in de 20ste eeuw onderzochten Thomas & Znaniecki de blijvende banden tussen migranten en hun thuisbasis. Terwijl deze ‘transnationale toestand’ de voorbije eeuw kenmerkend werd voor onze stedelijke geografi eën, stellen we vast dat beleid en berichtgeving dergelijke schaaloverschrijdende processen al te va...
Article
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A team of authors from the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research network explores the main empirical features of the global economic integration of Eurasia through an analysis of the (shifting) position of that macroregion’s key cities. More specifically, they examine the gateway roles played by key cities in four major subregions – China,...
Article
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This paper presents an analysis of the geography of the booming ‘Islamic financial services’ (IFS) sector, which provides a host of financial services based on Islamic religious grounds. The relevance of such an analysis is discussed against the conceptual backdrop of the world city network literature. It is argued that a focus on the globalisation...
Article
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This is a short note to take stock of where we were before the financial crisis began to seriously undermine the global economy in late 2008.

Projects

Projects (6)
Project
The interdisciplinary research program Re-Building Brussels (1695-2025) aims to deliver insights in the long-term dynamics that shaped the relationship between urban construction and its ecological and social impact. The project examines the ways in which - and the reasons why - material reuse and the labour market have evolved in Brussels since the beginning of modern urban growth in the eighteenth century until today. A key long-term academic goal is to detect how the local state can install a regime in which foundational sectors can work as vehicles for both a circular transition as well as equitable labour market inclusion. Through an analysis of the Brussels’ construction sector over the past 330 years, we can gain much-needed insight in the political, economic and social processes that shape the required conditions. This research will at the same time tackle contemporary urban challenges of the circular economy and the labour market as a stepping-stone for social mobility, reducing intra-urban inequalities. The program is funded by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2021-2026) and builds upon the VUB IRP programme (2016-2021) Building Brussels. Brussels City Builders and the Production of Space, 1794-2015, in which the three VUB research groups Architectural Engineering (AELA), Historical Research into Urban Transformation Processes (HOST) and Cosmopolis – Centre for Urban Research (COSM) teamed up
Archived project
The project starts from the Innoviris Anticipate call 2015 concerning urban development - Brussels' economic function: entrepreneurial dynamic, (re)location of enterprises and tertiary sector importance. The context of this problematic is the question of the weakening of the distinction between city and its periphery, inter alia through uneven agglomeration advantage dynamics and the influence of ICT that can undermine importance of physical proximity. The double aim of the project is (i) the qualitative and quantitative cartography of the recent spatio-temporal dynamics within the advanced producer services sector (i.e. financial services, legal services, management consultancy, accountancy and auditing, advertising) and (ii) the tracking of socio-spatial dynamics that could explain the shifting economic geography of these sectors. The project is focused on competition and complementarity at three scales: Brussels within the world city network, the Belgian "global-city-region" (including Flemish and Walloon cities) and the Brussels metropolitan region s.s. More specifically, the focus will be on financial center formation in Brussels and the service ecologies around the various European Institutions. The basic hypothesis is that urban clusters will maintain a comparative advantage concerning complex and high-quality core activities, whereas labor-intensive and routine activities will more easily more to the edge and beyond. The project's ultimately intends to make targeted recommendations on the further localization economies within the Brussels Capital Region and nuance policy choices about the strengthening of the advanced producer services complex by highlighting the impact of such cluster formations on the labor market, housing market, consumption spaces, etc. A key element here is the curtailing of socio-spatial polarization effects that are usually associated with such regional economic policy. This research was funded by Innoviris, research grant PRFB 8 and is based on cooperation with IGEAT (ULB) under the co-supervision of Gilles Van Hamme and with the support of: ADT-ATO (see http://www.adt-ato.brussels/nl) Brussels Commissioner for Europe (see http://www.commissioner.brussels/) Febelfin (see https://www.febelfin.be/)
Project
The Foundational Economy is a collective of (mainly) European academic researchers working together to develop a new way of thinking which challenges mainstream ideas about what economic policy should be. Our focus is on the foundational economy – including health, care, education, housing, utilities and food supply- because these basic goods and services are a driver of welfare and the basis of citizenship. Our members come from several countries, a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and have different political affiliations. As a group, we are developing a distinctive practice represented by our multi authored books and articles and our diverse outputs including public interest reports. We are collectively minded, work together continuously and aim to lever social innovation that changes what is politically possible. See also: www.foundationaleconomy.com