University of California, Berkeley
Desiree Fields is part of the Geography Department and Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an urban and economic geographer whose work explores the financial technologies, market devices, and historical and geographic contingencies making it possible to treat housing as a financial asset, and how this process is contested at the urban scale. At the heart of her work is an interest in how economic—and increasingly, technological–transformations unevenly restructure urban space and social relations, with a particular concern for how urban struggles for justice coalesce around these changes. Within this broadly defined area, she grapples with two transformations as they relate to housing, a crucial vector of urban inequality and terrain of grassroots political contestation. First, the shift to a finance-oriented political economy; second, the growing global reach and power of digital platforms. Her current work examines post-2008 strategies of housing financialization, and how recent advances in digital technology have participated in this process. Fields’ previous work on the U.S. foreclosure crisis examined how neoliberal ideology and practice contributed to the expansion of unsustainable homeownership, the policy failures that contributed to the extent and severity of the crisis, conceptualized racialized processes of intergenerational dispossession, and applied a social ecological model of health disparities to mortgage foreclosure. In 2013, the Urban Affairs Association honored Fields with the Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award. The U.S. National Science Foundation, the British Academy, and the Independent Social Research Foundation have supported Fields’ research, which has been published in journals including Urban Studies; Economic Geography; Housing, Theory, and Society; City; and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Fields is a board member of the Urban Studies Foundation, Treasurer of the Urban Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Association, and member of the editorial advisory board of Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space.