In Urban Warfare, Rolnik charts how the financialisation of housing has become a global crisis, as home ownership and private property become the sole model of social advancement around the world. These changes were largely promoted by those who benefit the most: construction companies and banks, supported by government-facilitated schemes, such as “the right to buy,” micro-financing and urban land reforms.
Using examples from Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Chile, Israel, Haiti, the UK and especially Brazil, Rolnik shows how our homes and neighbourhoods have effectively become the “last subprime frontiers of capitalism’. This neoliberal colonialism is experienced on the scale of the city but also within our everyday lives. Since the financial crisis, millions have been left homeless, forced onto the streets by urban development politics, and mega-events such as the Rio World Cup in 2014. These narratives are weaved together with theoretical reflections and empirical evidence to explain the crisis in depth. In response, Rolnik restates the political need for activism and resistance around the right to housing and to the city.