L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Benjamin Teresa

Benjamin Teresa

Associate professor and co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab, assistant chair - Urban and Regional Studies and Planning program

Raleigh Building, Room 3015B Phone: (804) 828-8297 Email: bfteresa@vcu.edu


  • Real estate development and finance
  • Community development and organizing
  • Urban political economy


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

Research Interests

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


Teresa, Benjamin F. (2016): Rationalizing tax increment financing in Chicago, Urban Geography, DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2016.1206707.
Juan J. Rivero, Benjamin F. Teresa & John West (2016): Locating rationalities in planning: market thinking and its others in the spaces, institutions, and materials of contemporary urban governance, Urban Geography, DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2016.1206703.
Teresa, Benjamin. F. (2016). Managing fictitious capital: The legal geography of investment and political struggle in rental housing in New York City. Environment and Planning A, 48(3), 465-484.