19 June, 2018

Another tale of large-scale urban planning: The quandaries of mobility into and out of Campus Belval

This fall, it will be three years since major components of the University of Luxembourg – most notably the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FLSHASE) – have moved (and were moved) to Belval. The following note is a response to on-going debates about the calamities of getting there and back home, and how to improve this endeavour. My aim is to provide some background information from a geography and planning perspective, to reflect upon current means of service and policy, and to propose some ideas for future debates.(1)

As geographers and planners, we were actually dealing with Belval years before the move, for two reasons. Firstly, we have always had professional interest in Belval because it is a case of large-scale urban planning in a small country that has a huge impact on the built environment and, further, on the potential users of the site. Secondly, as members of the UL, we are all an integral part of this project, whether we want to be or not. Even now, years after the opening of the new Campus, we remain moving objects, now and on a daily basis. Thus, we as individuals must experiment with the promises and quandaries of mobility, actually a perfect indicator of the paradoxes of modern life.(2)

Recent events spurred extensive debates at the level of the UL, and this is another striking coincidence of different news items surfacing simultaneously, addressing a similar problem (see the last entry on Urbanization Unbound on real estate markets in Luxembourg). For some time now, we have known that the more the district is developed, the more parking  becomes a scarce, and thus expensive, resource across the whole site of Belval. This is an idea one could easily subscribe to and support in the name of sustainable development, if proper alternatives to the automobile were set in place. Yet, this is obviously not the case. So, we see an increasing number of commentaries and contributions made by members of the UL. A couple of Fridays ago, a colleague gave a perfect illustration of the problem based on his own travel itinerary and necessities. It was really an excellent insight into how complex, constrained, and costly the apparently simple travel from A to B can be. Others chimed in too, adding more convincing evidence of this, and confirming what we have actually known for a while.

Empirically evident are also the frequent breakdowns of the train system, the major transit connector to and from Belval and a second cause for concern. The last major incident happed on Monday, 4th June, in the late afternoon, when five (!) subsequent trains from Belval to the City where cancelled – without any (!) notice given to passengers, neither on site, nor on the App, nowhere. No replacement buses were organised. Passengers were simply left on the platform for the next train. However, the problem is more complex than simply being an issue of trains out of order. It deserves some explanation and context.(3) 

So… What’s the problem here?
Belval is/was envisioned as a highly acclaimed reconversion of a former brownfield site into a Science City. Since it is situated somehow isolated from the rest of the City of Esch-sur-Alzette (and the connectivity to Belvaux/Sanem only slowly improving), the question of how to provide good and sustainable access to the site was one of the key challenges raised very early on. With the installment of Gare Belval-Université – some of us may recall the pomp and circumstance when the Grand Duke opened the station – a supposedly convenient and sustainable solution had been found that would suit everyone and everything: It would be good for users, the urban setting, and the environment. Access to trains would even allow the mobility system to be based on a so-called modal split that devotes 40% of daily trips to public transit, and only 60% to the private automobile. It seemed like a revolution for the otherwise heavily car-oriented Luxembourg. 

However, a couple of issues were overlooked when the promise of sustainable mobility to and out of Belval was made. Some of these issues are systemic, so they are difficult to change. Simply speaking, every trip made by an individual from home to work represents a chain that has two ends: origin and destination. While Belval as a destination seems well accessible, one has to accept that the origin from which staff and students start their journey is widely dispersed across the country and the Greater Region. It would therefore take much more than the usual means of building fast and reliable service on major transport routes to make the site properly accessible. We would need more or less flexible feeder-services that complement the main lines, in order to keep travel times within a reasonable limit. And, we would need a good local setting for bikes, scooters, and pedestrians.

At the moment, none of that is sufficiently provided. Instead, we have a run-down train service, which has huge problems in ensuring the mere business as usual, not to speak of significant improvements. Feeder lines are rare or hardly adjusted to the new locale. Those that do exist (such as the 306-Bus from Trier to Belval) are often stuck in motorway traffic. Buses 202/203 from the city serve the steel mills, not the Campus – welcome to the post-industrial age. After Belvaux was turned to a major construction site this spring, local buses stopped serving the Campus, adding another 900m walk alongside crowded street traffic to our daily journey. Local conditions for cyclists, such as those coming from Esch or taking the long way from the Luxembourg City (yes, some of us indeed do this) are disappointing to say the least. And, this is the situation we are confronting three years after the move. As it stands now, we will have to wait for future concepts and fantasies to be developed, and meanwhile simply struggle with the daily business as usual.

Admittedly, this is also the result of a lack of service-orientation that runs through the whole train and transit system, which if was implemented would not necessarily make the trains run more efficiently per se, but would at least make daily trips less painful and adventurous. Just to give one more recent example: in response to complaints about the train incidence at Gare Belval-Université in early June, the CFL provided a lengthy technical explanation of what had happened and why this had caused turmoil. However, we still haven’t received any measured explanation concerning why passengers weren’t informed about the incident, and why no advice whatsoever was given concerning alternative routes.

Problems are also related to the mere fact that Luxembourg is suffering under its own economic and demographic success. For a small country, a development that has exhibited a constant annual growth rate of GDP (2.5-4 per cent) for over a decade brings an enormous strain on infrastructure systems. This implies a huge challenge to the whole country: to government, planners, transport providers, and of course, to customers. One could certainly argue that Luxembourg is rather active in future mobility policies. The problem is simply that what we currently observe is more or less the trying to catch up with the past, and not a planning for the future. There are at least 20-30 years of road building, combined with an entrenched car culture and systematic neglect of rail & bus all coded into the country’s DNA, which is hard to change in one sweep. In this regard, the future has not even started at all, except on paper. Expanding the infrastructure goes necessarily at the cost of present users, who have to accept delays and cancellations, at least in the next while. And, the idea of a more balanced spatial development that brings the places of work and residence closer together is also difficult to imagine because the housing market is not in any order of health and that is not likely to improve soon. Thus, recommending that cross-border and distance commuters settle in Luxembourg is not the same as offering a serious alternative.

Also, Luxembourg’s business model is ultimately geographical by nature. The small country is not only – and almost accidentally – surrounded by larger neighbours that provide the labour pool for its expanding economy, but its wealth generation is also something that was established over the past century on the foundations of a clever evolution and likewise management of external relations. Thus, the spatial imprint of the small country is much larger than its surface area of 2,500+ km2. The key commodity traded here is flows. These include flows of all kinds, such as money, politics, data, knowledge, goods, services, and labour. The present and future of the small state is almost entirely about circulation (and its regulation), which is probably also illustrated by the next big shot of economic development: space resources. The forgotten issue is that this massive volume of circulation is underpinned in physical space, in infrastructure systems and arteries that ensure the seamless flows of all the items mentioned above. Even though the flow of money through the financial marketplace seems increasingly virtual, the enabling systems for operating a top services and financial industry location are necessarily material: One needs educated staff, offices, accessibility etc. A small country that emerged as the second largest hub for investment funds on the planet essentially relies on 1st class systems of all kinds, and given the poor performance of transit that we bemoan, there clearly remains a lot of work to do. 

Those are a few notes on the general and historical background of the current state of affairs in a nutshell.

The problem behind the problems
It is clear that the dilemma we are facing is really difficult to resolve, and far from being a quick fix. Some of the structural and systemic factors mentioned above seem almost inconceivable to change, and if change is indeed possible, then probably only in the mid- or long-term. Geography is yet impossible to alter, particularly since it is part of Luxembourg’s political economy, a.k.a. business model. The focus on extracting value from flows, based on external relations of the small country with the rest of the world will most likely remain in place for the foreseeable future. The economy is destined to grow further, otherwise one would put the established level of wealth and income at risk. While the government’s emphasis is on expanding and improving the various infrastructures, it is also clear that: a) this takes time to implement; and b) given the foreseen growth of GDP and employment, it may suffice for absorbing additional demand, but not for solving existing problems. Belval is also specific in this respect, as: a) recent policy frameworks such as MoDu 2.0 or the Plan Sectoriel Transport do not devote particular attention to Belval, even though the site is actually the most important new generator of transport demand in the country; and b) the foreseen degree of density in the urban design of Belval will bring more and more people to the site, while accessibility won’t improve in the short term and parking capacities will be further reduced in due course. This makes the issue even more pressing.

In this context, one would wish that the actors and institutions in charge begin rethinking the problem and concentrating on intelligent investments, rather than initiating large road and rail works that need years to come to fruition. Long-term infrastructure improvements are, of course, a vital component of mobility policy and therefore necessary. This is the case with the possible high-speed tram extension to Belval. However, it is predicted that this will  not be completed until 2035 at the earliest.(4) Do we really want to wait more than fifteen years for a proper means of transport? This is rather unpalatable; therefore, in parallel, one ought to introduce some small changes that can make a big difference – organizational measures that allow certain effects to materialize in the immediate term. Unfortunately, the regular habits of infrastructure provision focus on large-scale construction plans in order to catch up with growth. And, they need time and capacity to be wisely planned, balanced (between different aims and alternatives) and openly communicated, rather than rigidly executed. Particularly, all these measures require an enormous degree of integration, which is questioned by the country’s setting of institutional fragmentation (fragmentation between state and communes, among the communes, between the different transport modes, and policy subjects…). A coherent body of policies that tackle the complex assemblage of mobility problems and their inter-related causes is urgently needed so that a significant impact is achieved relatively soon.

What should we do? A few steps towards a new direction

1 For Belval, a ‘quick response’ transport demand management strategy is urgently needed.(5) Accessing Belval is a huge challenge, which should no longer be treated with the business-as-usual attitude of long-term infrastructure policy that we’ve seen so far and which doesn’t help us now. Instead, the mobility issue should become part of a dedicated process of introducing short-term means and measures to improve the situation now. Consequently, we need a transport demand management (TDM) plan that scans the problems and systematically develops alternatives, particularly those that may have the biggest effect in the shortest period of time. This could include a beta-version of a rapid bus network (BNHS) to which the existing RGTR could be developed in due course. A comprehensive programme to improve the accessibility of Belval by bike is urgently needed as well. And, it would be helpful if there could be more time to adapt to planned changes in parking regulations as they have direct and significant consequences on labour and their needs and expenses.

2 In the context of the first point, the UL and the other institutions in Belval should jointly create an employer’s mobility scheme. While the state and related bodies can’t be released from their prime responsibility of providing the proper means of mobility into and out of Belval, employers can make a significant contribution to resolving this dilemma. They represent a sufficient critical mass of staff, so one could do more in terms of providing a good data basis and promoting alternative means such as car-pooling, car-sharing and the like. Such lengths are definitely worth the joint effort. In addition, one could also think about accompanying measures such as promoting teleworking, at least for some staff members. The university and government should push forward the possibilities of digitalization at least for those sorts of activities that can be done remotely, where physical presence on Campus is not essential. Certainly, each member of the University could also contribute on his and her own to improve the situation. Not all road trips are essential and necessary. Not all drivers are captive and thus without alternatives. Not all seats in vehicles are occupied, so why not promote a more efficient use of capacity? The bitter truth is that there is no constitutional right for free parking, and we simply have to accept this if the Campus is ever going to be sustainable.

3 The mode of planning and communication with the users of Belval on the one hand, and development and political responsibilities on the other hand, deserve improving, striving for a more inclusive approach than what has been practiced so far. Modern planning textbooks consistently emphasise transparency and participation, commitment and creativity. Yet in contrast to what is taught in the literature, the majority of small states (to put it this way) tend to execute plans and programmes in rather orthodox ways. While this country’s infrastructure policy adopted for good reason a multi-modal and no longer car-oriented approach, its implementation still follows the tradition of the powerful, authoritative state. The related first (government) and second (sectoral planning, development, construction) order institutions still stick to top-down planning and implementation, particularly when it comes to third parties and customers. However, planning, building and infrastructure provision are increasingly understood as learning processes, based on a mutual exchange of what the problem is, what possible solutions could be (there are always alternatives), and how a careful decision-making could be organised. Don't we want to go there as well? Or, would we prefer the old fashion of the “godfather” planning ideal (Walter Siebel)?

4 There is one more reason why policy measures should be balanced more carefully: There is an issue concerning social equality when the cost of commuting is raised as a topic that effects everyone in similar ways. Losing 1,000 €/year for parking impacts each captive person differently because of wage differentials and the complexity of his/her family circumstances. Obviously, supporting an exogenous change is much easier for let’s say a male Luxembourgian professor who inherited a comfortable house close to Luxembourg city centre, than for a foreign female support staff, renting an apartment in a small town in Belgium, France or Germany. Deciding to work in Belval is the result of a complex trade-off between housing costs, transport costs, and travel time. Related decisions concerning where to live and where to work are made in long term. In turn, it is very complex to alter: relocating may mean the changing of schools, lower proximity to family networks, more stretched commuting for the partner, etc. Changing jobs may actually be easier.

So, the result of non-negotiable and socially undifferentiated policy may actually cause a much greater turnover of some particular staff, typically support female support staff with kids and less flexible hours. And, obviously frontaliers are hit the hardest, when one considers who is primarily affected and what their average salary is. As a consequence, it is difficult to imagine any transport management plan or parking scheme that is socially blind.(6) Given the sometimes rigid and inflexible ways a policy scheme is implemented (such as the 60:40 modal split) demonstrates the lack of understanding – and power playing – by particular (Luxembourgian?) elites vis-a-vis other workers, who are typically cross-border, often female, and with kids. Overall, a positive step forward would actually be to add some granularity in the policy, typically a fare system that recognizes the availability of public transport at residence, the category of staff, and their family status.

5 What could institutions such as the UL do by themselves in order to tackle the problem? There is certainly a need for education and creating expertise in mobility management at the level of larger enterprises and institutions. Apart from some notable exceptions (among them the UL), there is little knowledge in the country concerning company mobility management, except for perhaps the expertise in providing XXL-parking lots that cater to SUVs in underground garages... Corporate policy could become a fundamental element of TDM solutions as discussed above. There is also an urgent need to collect data about demand (scatter and door-to-door trips) as well as supply (reliability, punctuality).  Instead of collecting single experiences, it is important to show the global picture. In past years, data was in fact collected through surveys. These should now be repeated in order to analyze how the users have responded to the palate of transport offers and resources. Setting up a mobility plan would be a first step, but it won’t be trivial. As members of the UL experienced in developing the transport policy plan at the University, we know that this comes with many challenges, and that it requires developing alternatives and what-if scenarios.

To sum up: 
While the actual debate about parking seems to have gained momentum only recently, the issue of how to best plan proper access to Belval is not new. Indeed, this note was inspired by comments made by individuals at the UL concerning the current malaise: Listening to single voices is clearly important (!), as it provides an empirically grounded view of the problem at stake. However, individual responses do not signal the ultimate solution, as politics need to consider the public good. In this context, two peculiar issues in the country’s policy and planning traditions must be reflected on, addressed, and overcome: Firstly, the tradition of asking the government (or the mayor …) to take care of particular issues that result from very special interests (Partikularinteressen) needs to stop. This goes usually at the cost of more coherent overall strategies and the common good. Secondly, there is a tradition in Luxembourg of sticking to large-scale urban projects, which are costly, risky, hard to integrate and often subject to delays. While real-life implementation of small but useful steps in the right direction is challenging in the details (and less glossy and therefore harder to sell to the public), policy makers are tempted to go for the big thing, the polished technical solution. This is also the case in Belval: Options such as rail, super-bus, or now fast-tram were already promised and calculated, and the former two have already been rejected. Should we now wait for another 15-20 years of large-scale infrastructure planning to materialize, while we already know how difficult the planning and political process can be in a small country? We need an open and constructive debate with all parties involved on how to improve the situation now, as soon as possible, not in two decades.

Markus Hesse

(1) Many thanks to Geoffrey, Francesco and Katja for reading, commenting and providing inspiration, and also – as always – to Connie for editing. The responsibility for this remains of course solely mine.
(2) Sheller, M. & J. Urry (2016). Mobilizing the new mobilities paradigm. Applied Mobilities 1(1), 10-25.
(3) This note focuses on the core of the transport problem, while layers such as social cohesion, identity and the like remain excluded.
(4) These days Minister Bausch presented a high-speed tram from Luxembourg City to Belval to be built by 2035. Such news is good for providing headlines, but won’t provide relief now. Given the increasing frequency of press releases on tram extension in the capital city and beyond, one must have the impression that the tram is becoming primarily a political vehicle, rather than an effective means of resolving pressing problems.
(5) See for example: Black, C. & E. Schreffler (2010). Understanding transport demand management and its role in delivery of sustainable urban transport. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board (2163), 81-88.
(6) There are manifold societal and equity dimensions inherent to mobility and transport, which call for a more than technical treatment of this subject matter; see e.g. Lucas, K. (2012). Transport and social exclusion: Where are we now? Transport policy 20, 105-113.

07 June, 2018

Combien ça coûte? A note on land, money, property & profit (Part I)

Sometimes it's really striking how random co-incidences of news items surface on one's screen simultaneously. As geographers and planners, we’re actually well aware of the unholy alliance of land and money, of property and profit, which is the subject matter of this blog entry. A huge body of literatures, both from theory and practice, reveals the prominence and ever-shifting nature of this relationship. Its significance for cities, people and urban life has increased dramatically in recent times, based on a weird assemblage of capital flows, speculative attitudes, and both absence and presence of governance.(1) Last week, such things came together quite nicely in the case of our capital, Luxembourg City, which is a small (roughly 117,000 inhabitants) but powerful economic centre, as the following four short vignettes may illustrate.

First, as to the more generic if not theoretical background of this issue, Robin & Brill explain why urban development that is grounded in private real estate particularly succeeds in times of financialisation, and how, in turn, the latter has increased the pressure on urban processes.(2) (Thank you, Tom Becker, for the hint!) Real-estate players are not only extracting value from transforming and trading urban property, but have become important “transfer agents in the global flow of urban models”.(3) Besides accelerating unaffordability in cities, this phenomenon helps mobilize different conceptions of what the city should be about, blueprints of which can then be found on display at real-estate fairs such as MIPIM, in Cannes, or EXPO-REAL, in Munich. This peculiar politics of land and territory is sometimes difficult to detect, as it is often hidden under the surface of the smart, competitive or sustainable city. Only accidentally do such issues become apparent and garner public attention.

This leads us to the second case in this context, which was raised by the on-line magazine www.reporter.lu, in Luxembourg, at the end of May.(4) One of the cover stories addressed the high-end property prices in the city’s "Oberstadt" – indeed, it is called ‘upper city’ (5) – a small area that was once the trading centre and political hotspot for the capital city and country. In its central parts, it now represents an assemblage of three different types of land uses: i) it is an overly polished retail space, with an increasing number of luxury chains; ii) it is composed of various commodified spaces with ascribed historical and heritage significance, attracting tourist flows (e.g. Place Guillaume II, Place d’Armes, the Casemates, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, etc.); and iii) it is a space of political power embodied by the Grand Duke’s urban palace, the National Chamber, and the Town Hall. Roughly 3,500 people live there on a territory of about 105 hectares – that is, the Oberstadt houses only 3% of the city’s overall population on little more than 2% of its territory. So far, the Oberstadt retains significant symbolic value and is considered to be high, just as the business opportunities offered for bars, restaurants and selected retail outlets are.

Figure 1: Luxembourg City, Square Marché-aux-Poissons /
rue Sigefroi 2008 (Source: Cayambe, CC-BY-SA 3.0).
While a significant portion of the built fabric remains unused (much of the upper stories above the retail shops located on the ground floors of the picturesque buildings are empty), the Oberstadt has recently become an enormously promising spot for land speculation, development and rent-seeking adventures. Reporter.lu reveals how the prices for luxury condos in two flagship projects have risen to twice the average level in the leading districts of the city. Flats are now coming on the market for up to 22-25,000 €/m2 – a significant re-urbanization of money, which was preferably invested there, ahead of McMansions on the periphery (not in the city centre). The institutional setting behind these profitable investments is based on securisation, a risky investment practice that was legalised in Luxembourg in 2004. The related investment funds are officially unregulated and targeted by a variety of customers, some of them suspicious of money laundering. Transparency, concerning who the concrete persons involved are, is limited. And, the level of taxation seems to be rather low, particularly where off-shore addresses are included, which seems to be the case here as well. Among the future owners of the flats are so-called High-Net Worth Individuals, super-rich business people, and industrialists who are supposedly quite international: “Europeans who lead an international life and are quite often on the road”, as we learn from the magazine.(6)

Third, another key site in Luxembourg City where the alliance of land and money is breeding profit, undisturbed - or even mastered - by politics and planning, is the yet brownfield “Place de l’Etoile” (Star Place) (figure 2). It is situated west of the city centre, where sub-urban and cross-border commuter flows meet the office enclaves of the Boulevard Royal and adjacent neighbourhoods, including the Limpertsberg area that was hit hard by the reconversion of flats to offices. On the 26th of May, media coverage revealed that Etoile won’t be hosting another mixed-use space of shopping, offices and apartments, as it was planned until now.(7) Instead, it is now destined to provide a massive injection of hundreds of luxury apartments. The key player in this respect is ADIA, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund that is owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). ADIA has been active in Luxembourg for some time now. It is, for example, part of the first mixed-use flagship project Hamilius that is currently under construction in the central city (see former blog posts here here and here). ADIA had bought the approximately two-hectare piece of land at Place de l’Etoile, in 2016, for a reported amount of 150 million Euros. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, it was, “one of the largest land transactions ever made in Luxembourg”. ADIA not only provided the investment, but it will keep the apartments in its own portfolio and bring them on the market for rent. This is obviously more lucrative than renting out office space would be – and it is clear indication that the housing market will further rocket to a dimension that is entirely unaffordable for the average renter or buyer.

Figure 2: Luxembourg City, Place de l’Etoile 2017 
(Source: Zinneke, CC-BY-SA 4.0_lu)
The story behind the potentially new prospect for Etoile (official confirmation is still pending) is as delicate as many other land deals in the city are. Etoile is understood to be the terrain that was kept vacant the longest in the capital city, and speculation was probably the most important reason for this. However, the art of properly phasing investments and getting them nested in the local realm is always accompanied by complex processes of political decision-making and urban planning. In the case of Etoile, it seems a strange mix  has made it possible: a mix of both governance presence and absence, the active channeling of money flows through the complexities of rules and regulations, and the deliberate abdication of any substantial claims about affordability, social issues, urban design qualities and the like.

Fourth and finally, we can situate these observations in the context of comparisons on a broader scale. In light of the above, it is absolutely no surprise that Luxembourg City popped up in the 2018 edition of the Swiss UBS-report on Prices and Earnings in 77 top metropolises of the world, which was also published last week.(8) It ranks 3rd, 5th and 15th in terms of earnings, purchasing power, and price level, respectively. Cities of comparison are all major economic centres of the world, most capital cities of both leading and emerging economies, and also second-tier cities such as Frankfurt, Germany; Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland; or Lyon, France. The cities surveyed were labeled by the authors as ‘global cities’. Luxembourg City, probably the smallest of all the sample cases, is slightly cheaper than Paris, more expensive than cities such as Seoul, Dublin, or Brussels, but at the same time, one of the very richest.(9) The mismatch between size and function or power looks impressive, but it is also associated with an increasing amount of conflict and tension. While the setting is increasingly global and prices are rising, the middle-and lower classes are running into problems – most notably in terms of housing, for which even the higher average earnings no longer suffice. Thus, there are certain costs associated with grooming a small city as a hotspot in world’s economy. Yet, for various reasons, the capability to respond to these problems seems limited. Money (both as a resource and as a source of greed) is only one but rather powerful limiting factor here; others are simply successful lobbying, overall ideologies, or institutional inertia. This is seldom so clear as it was last week, when different news agencies reported on the peculiar links between land and profit.

Markus Hesse

Watch out for Part II of this entry that will follow next week, briefly discussing: what the lessons learned from these cases are, and what the takeaway could be in more general terms; for properly interpreting what financialisation means for urban development and policy; and, for estimating the ramifications for practice, such as policy and planning. 


1) Just to name a few and recent sources: Halbert, L./Attuyer, K. (2016). "Introduction: The financialisation of urban production: Conditions, mediations and transformations." Urban Studies 53(7), 1347–1361; Madden, D./Marcuse, P. (2016). In Defense of Housing. The Politics of Crisis. London/Brooklyn: Verso; van Loon, J. & Aalbers, M. B. (2017). "How real estate became ‘just another asset class’: The financialization of the investment strategies of Dutch institutional investors." European Planning Studies 25(2), 221-240.

2) Robin, E. & F. Brill (2018) ‘The global politics of an urban age: creating 'cities for all' in the age of financialisation’. palgrave communications 4:3, (DOI: 10.1057/s41599-017-0056-6)

3) Robin & Brill 2018, p. 2

4) Schmit, L. (2018) Der Trend zu Luxusimmobilien im Stadtzentrum. Neue Schlossherren im Stadtzentrum. 24 May 2018, with updates on 26 May 2018 (https://www.reporter.lu/luxusimmobilien-neue-schlossherren-im-stadtzentrum/)

5) The leftish German singer Franz-Josef Degenhardt had once put it as follows: „Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern, sing nicht ihre Lieder, geh doch in die Oberstadt, mach’s wie deine Brüder.“ (Please don’t hang around with the street urchins, don’t sing their tales, follow your brothers and go to the upper town), F.-J. Degenhardt, 1965 

6) Schmit 2018, p. 4

7) Trapp, W. (2018) Ausverkauf der Stadt? „déi lenk“ wehrt sich gegen neue Pläne. Tageblatt 121, 26./27.5.2018, p. 48.

8) UBS (2018) Prices and Earnings 2018. https://www.ubs.com/microsites/prices-earnings/en/

9) This global position of a small money enclave and political capital is also subject of our GLOBAL research project, which will reveal its first findings soon. Related conference appearances are foreseen this Summer for GCEG, Cologne, IGU Urban, Montréal, and RGS/IBG, Cardiff.