African Centre for Cities is hosting a seminar by visiting scholar Julien Migozzi, an Urban Studies Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford. Migozzi will present Segregation “bit by bit”: digital technologies, housing market and the remaking of post-apartheid Cape Town, on 19 April, from 13:00-14:00, in Studio 1, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Building, Upper Campus, UCT
This presentation will examine the joint processes of digitalisation and financialisation of the housing market in Cape Town, and their consequences on the evolution of urban segregation. Migozzi’s mixed-method framework combines 18 months of fieldwork among real estate professionals with the creation of a database of 900,000 transactions, cross-analysed with longitudinal census data, and covering the entire metropolitan area from 1990 to 2017. For this talk, he will focus on three main points: first, he will unpack how the housing market was reconfigured as a continuous flow of data through the adoption of digital technologies such as credit scoring and automated property valuation, which allow the large scale datafication and classification of South African citizens and properties through an information dragnet of unprecedented sophistication and depth, rooted in the technical legacies of apartheid and colonialism. Second, he will explore how these changing market structures translate into the urban space by mapping the evolution of housing prices and mortgages across the post-apartheid city, and by exploring the emergence of new neighbourhoods around the urban edge, in the context of enduring levels of racial segregation. Third, he will analyse how the reconfiguration of the market around a data imperative enabled a selective financialisation of housing, tracing mortgage securitisation at the neighbourhood level, and documenting the rise of institutional investors powered by rental platforms. Finally, he will try to argue that thinking “from the market” allows us to engage more fully with the understanding of urban segregation in contemporary South Africa, first by acknowledging the central role of credit in shaping neighbourhood change and inequalities, and second by conceptualising a market-based definition of the middle class as a “filtered class”.
Julien Migozzi is an Urban Studies Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. His ongoing research combines computational analysis with expert interviews to examine how digital technologies reshape urban housing markets, focusing on post-apartheid South Africa.
WHEN | 19 April 2023
TIME | 13:00-14:00
WHERE | Studio 1, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Building, Upper Campus, UCT