The documentary PUSH shows how various financial actors – such as real estate companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate investment funds – increasingly invest in the (rental) housing market by, for example, buying up entire residential blocks. These buildings are often relatively cheap because they are in poor condition and/or the municipality needs private investors who have the money they cannot (no longer) raise themselves. Because there is a great shortage of affordable rental housing, shareholders are assured of a stable return on investment.
But that's not all: in their hunger for more profit, they lobby for deregulation and drive up rental and purchase prices. In some cases, they deliberately let these houses rot in order to demolish them and build (often expensive) residential towers in their place: a scenario that Brussels, unfortunately, knows all too well. Gradually, the most precarious population groups and "have-nots" are priced out of the market, pushed out of the city where they have sometimes lived for generations and taken root.
These processes raise urgent questions: Whose city is it really? Do we, as residents, still have a say in our neighbourhood? Even more so: do the people we elected still have control over the city? Do we understand enough about what is really going on?
including a q&a with director Fredrik Gertten
director Fredrik Gertten | producer Margarete Jangård | cinematography Janice d’Avila, Iris Ng | editing Erik Wall Bäfving