Rachel Weber, University of Illinois at Chicago

Award Recipient

Rachel Weber (University of Illinois at Chicago)

The Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the international professional association for urban scholars, researchers and public service professionals, convened its 47th Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 19-22, 2017. More than 750 participants, representing universities, research institutions, non-profit organizations, and public and private organizations/institutions from around the world met to discuss 21st century issues impacting urban populations and places. Conference participants represented institutions from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The University of Minnesota served as the local sponsor for the event.

During the conference, awards were presented in recognition of outstanding scholarship and service. Among those honored was Rachel Weber (University of Illinois at Chicago). Weber was awarded the 2017 Best Book in Urban Affairs Award for From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago. Sixty-nine books were nominated for the Best Book in Urban Affairs Award this year. The authors of these books represented several different disciplines and a variety of urban topics.

Award Committee Assessment

For the best book award, we selected:
Rachel Weber: From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
The award committee enthusiastically endorses Rachel Weber’s book From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago as the winner of the Urban Affairs Association Best Book Award 2017. Weber’s work will be of wide interest to the community of urban affairs scholars, given its interaction with concepts of sustainable design, theories of urban governance, and the commercial-industrial complex. The book shows a deep knowledge of the commercial real estate industry in Chicago through decades of research into the industry. Further, the book will be of interest to scholars focusing on other cities, revealing the dynamics of the real estate industry and stressing the role of the commercial market in the property markets’ boom and bust cycles. The clear and concise writing style makes complex concepts of financialization accessible.

Award Committee

Chair Nina Martin (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Andrew Carswell (University of Georgia); Michael Glass (University of Pittsburgh); Bernadette Hanlon (Ohio State University); Thomas Skuzinski (Virginia Tech)

Award Winner Bio

Rachel Weber is a Professor in the Urban Planning and Policy Department and a Faculty Fellow at the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches courses and conducts research in the fields of economic development, urban policy, and public finance. Her research has focused on why cities adopt certain financial instruments and how the use of particular methods of raising capital affects who benefits from and pays for urban infrastructures. She is the author of Swords into Dow Shares: Governing the Decline of the Military Industrial Complex and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning, a compilation of 40 essays by leading urban scholars. Her latest book, From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago, was recently published by the University of Chicago Press. During AY 2016-17, she is a visiting researcher at the University of Barcelona where she is researching how left-leaning mayoral administrations elected after the financial crisis balance their antipathy toward and dependence on the financial sector. She was appointed to the Tax Increment Financing Reform Task Force by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and served as a member of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s Urban Policy Advisory Committee.