Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online prior to print.
Drawing on interview data with second homeowners, this article identifies and explains diverging modes of second homeowner engagement in Boston, Massachusetts. Though recent scholarship suggests that second homeowners’ primary form of engagement is through financial transactions in real estate, this analysis uncovers 2 kinds of second homeowners—whom I call city speculators and city specters—who engage with the city in other, yet consequential ways. City speculators engage in city-building projects through direct civic and political participation and place-entrepreneurial activities and are motivated to do so by the pursuit and promise of economic capital. City specters more inconspicuously shape the contours of urban life through donations to and participation in elite, high cultural institutions. Specters suggest that they are not motivated by economic capital but by the high cultural value that their second home engagements afford. Documenting these differences sheds light on a growing group of urban dwellers, demonstrates and explains the heterogeneity of affluent in-migrants’ practices and variable place-making projects, and underscores the complex set of challenges that cities face today.