Assistant professor and co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab
B.S., Chemistry, Davidson College
Masters of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ph.D., Planning and Policy, Rutgers University
Adaptive reuse and real estate development finance, research methods, economic geography, housing and community development
Ben Teresa studies the changing relationship between finance and cities. His research examines how the increasing role of financial institutions, actors, and logic—sometimes referred to as the “financialization” of the economy—affects urban development and governance. Rooted in a community-engaged approach that emphasizes democratic inquiry and distributed expertise, his research focuses on how financialization positions communities and planners to exercise control over the institutions that shape how cities change.
By examining financialization as a process of urban transformation, Teresa’s research engages across multiple arenas including real estate development, housing, tax incentives, and urban education. He has explored how professional investment in rent regulated multifamily housing in New York City marks a significant change in the ownership and management of affordable housing by increasing displacement pressure on low-income tenants, challenging existing affordable housing policy, and inspiring new community development and organizing practices. In Chicago, he studied how the city used tax increment financing (TIF) to subsidize corporate headquarters relocations and how the practice motivated planners to develop new tools to evaluate the incentives. He has also looked at how private financing allowed charter school networks to expand rapidly in Chicago, transforming existing educational inequality into speculative investment opportunity without accountability to communities, parents, and students.
His current research project compares financial investment in 1) New York City and other “global cities” property markets; 2) single family rental housing emerging from the post-2008 foreclosure crisis in the American Southeast and Southwest; and 3) property markets in the declining cities of the American Midwest. The comparison shows how the increasing interconnection of financial and real estate markets directly links invested and disinvested places while intensifying the pace of uneven urban development, and how policy and community development engage with the challenges and opportunities these transformations bring.
2015 Susan S. Fainstein Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University