Photo of Weber, Rachel

Rachel Weber

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

Urban Planning and Policy


Building & Room:

236 CUPPA Hall, MC 348


412 S. Peoria St., Suite 236

Office Phone:

(312) 355-0307


I am an urban planner, political economist, and economic geographer who researches the relationship between finance and the built environment. My focus has been on instruments (tax increment financing, auction rate securities, crowdfunding, mortgage backed securities, tax credits) and infrastructures (school facilities, toll roads, commercial real estate). I am interested in why cities adopt certain instruments and how the use of particular methods of raising capital affects who benefits from and pays for urban infrastructures. In my work I have advanced the concept of “financialization” as shorthand for how these tools bring new politics, kinds of knowledge, and risks to bear on policy and development decisions.

Selected Publications

Rachel Weber, From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Rachel Weber. “Performing property cycles.” Journal of Cultural Economy 9.6: 587-603, 2016.

Phil Ashton, Marc Doussard, and Rachel Weber, “Reconstituting the State: City Powers and Exposures in Chicago’s Infrastructure Leases.” Urban Studies, May 2014

Rachel Weber, “Selling City Futures: The Financialization of Urban Redevelopment Policy” Economic Geography 86 (3): 251-274, 2010

Service to Community

Appointed Member, Tax Increment Financing Reform Task Force, for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition, 2011

Member, Urban Policy Advisory Committee for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, 2008

Notable Honors

2009, Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Illinois at Chicago


PhD City and Regional Planning, Cornell University (1998)
---- Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Center for International Security and Arms Control, Stanford University (1997)
MRP City and Regional Planning, Cornell University (1995)
BA Development Studies, Brown University, magna cum laude and high honors (1989)