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San Francisco; or, How to Destroy a City | Public Books
"As New York City and Greater Washington, DC, prepared for the arrival of Amazon’s new secondary headquarters, Torontonians opened a section of their waterfront to Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, which plans to prototype a new neighborhood “from the internet up.” Fervent resistance arose in all three locations, particularly as citizens and even some elected officials discovered that many of the terms of these public-private partnerships were hashed out in closed-door deals, secreted by nondisclosure agreements. Critics raised questions about the generous tax incentives and other subsidies granted to these multibillion-dollar corporations, their plans for data privacy and digital governance, what kind of jobs they’d create and housing they’d provide, and how their arrival could impact local infrastructures, economies, and cultures. While such questioning led Amazon to cancel their plans for Long Island City in mid-February, other initiatives press forward. What does it mean when Silicon Valley—a geographic region that’s become shorthand for an integrated ideology and management style usually equated with libertarian techno-utopianism—serves as landlord, utility provider, urban developer, (unelected) city official, and employer, all rolled into one?1

We can look to Alphabet’s and Amazon’s home cities for clues. Both the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle have been dramatically remade by their local tech powerhouses: Amazon and Microsoft in Seattle; and Google, Facebook, and Apple (along with countless other firms) around the Bay. As Jennifer Light, Louise Mozingo, Margaret O’Mara, and Fred Turner have demonstrated, technology companies have been reprogramming urban and suburban landscapes for decades.2 And “company towns” have long sprung up around mills, mines, and factories.3 But over the past few years, as development has boomed and income inequality has dramatically increased in the Bay Area, we’ve witnessed the arrival of several new books reflecting on the region’s transformation.

These titles, while focusing on the Bay, offer lessons to New York, DC, Toronto, and the countless other cities around the globe hoping to spur growth and economic development by hosting and ingesting tech—by fostering the growth of technology companies, boosting STEM education, and integrating new sensors and screens into their streetscapes and city halls. For years, other municipalities, fashioning themselves as “the Silicon Valley of [elsewhere],” have sought to reverse-engineer the Bay’s blueprint for success. As we’ll see, that blueprint, drafted to optimize the habits and habitats of a privileged few, commonly elides the material needs of marginalized populations and fragile ecosystems. It prioritizes efficiency and growth over the maintenance of community and the messiness of public life. Yet perhaps we can still redraw those plans, modeling cities that aren’t only made by powerbrokers, and that thrive when they prioritize the stewardship of civic resources over the relentless pursuit of innovation and growth."



"We must also recognize the ferment and diversity inherent in Bay Area urban historiography, even in the chronicles of its large-scale development projects. Isenberg reminds us that even within the institutions and companies responsible for redevelopment, which are often vilified for exacerbating urban ills, we find pockets of heterogeneity and progressivism. Isenberg seeks to supplement the dominant East Coast narratives, which tend to frame urban renewal as a battle between development and preservation.

In surveying a variety of Bay Area projects, from Ghirardelli Square to The Sea Ranch to the Transamerica Pyramid, Isenberg shifts our attention from star architects and planners to less prominent, but no less important, contributors in allied design fields: architectural illustration, model-making, publicity, journalism, property management, retail planning, the arts, and activism. “People who are elsewhere peripheral and invisible in the history of urban design are,” in her book, “networked through the center”; they play critical roles in shaping not only the urban landscape, but also the discourses and processes through which that landscape takes shape.

For instance, debates over public art in Ghirardelli Square—particularly Ruth Asawa’s mermaid sculpture, which featured breastfeeding lesbian mermaids—“provoked debates about gender, sexuality, and the role of urban open space in San Francisco.” Property manager Caree Rose, who worked alongside her husband, Stuart, coordinated with designers to master-plan the Square, acknowledging that retail, restaurants, and parking are also vital ingredients of successful public space. Publicist Marion Conrad and graphic designer Bobbie Stauffacher were key members of many San Francisco design teams, including that for The Sea Ranch community, in Sonoma County. Illustrators and model-makers, many of them women, created objects that mediated design concepts for clients and typically sat at the center of public debates.

These creative collaborators “had the capacity to swing urban design decisions, structure competition for land, and generally set in motion the fate of neighborhoods.” We see the rhetorical power of diverse visualization strategies reflected across these four books, too: Solnit’s offers dozens of photographs, by Susan Schwartzenberg—of renovations, construction sites, protests, dot-com workplaces, SRO hotels, artists’ studios—while Walker’s dense text is supplemented with charts, graphs, and clinical maps. McClelland’s book, with its relatively large typeface and extra-wide leading, makes space for his interviewees’ words to resonate, while Isenberg generously illustrates her pages with archival photos, plans, and design renderings, many reproduced in evocative technicolor.

By decentering the star designer and master planner, Isenberg reframes urban (re)development as a collaborative enterprise involving participants with diverse identities, skills, and values. And in elevating the work of “allied” practitioners, Isenberg also aims to shift the focus from design to land: public awareness of land ownership and commitment to responsible public land stewardship. She introduces us to several mid-century alternative publications—weekly newspapers, Black periodicals, activists’ manuals, and books that never made it to the best-seller list … or never even made it to press—that advocated for a focus on land ownership and politics. Yet the discursive power of Jacobs and Caro, which framed the debate in terms of urban development vs. preservation, pushed these other texts off the shelf—and, along with them, the “moral questions of land stewardship” they highlighted.

These alternative tales and supporting casts serve as reminders that the modern city need not succumb to Haussmannization or Moses-ification or, now, Googlization. Mid-century urban development wasn’t necessarily the monolithic, patriarchal, hegemonic force we imagined it to be—a realization that should steel us to expect more and better of our contemporary city-building projects. Today, New York, Washington, DC, and Toronto—and other cities around the world—are being reshaped not only by architects, planners, and municipal administrators, but also by technologists, programmers, data scientists, “user experience” experts and logistics engineers. These are urbanism’s new “allied” professions, and their work deals not only with land and buildings, but also, increasingly, with data and algorithms.

Some critics have argued that the real reason behind Amazon’s nationwide HQ2 search was to gather data from hundreds of cities—both quantitative and qualitative data that “could guide it in its expansion of the physical footprint, in the kinds of services it rolls out next, and in future negotiations and lobbying with states and municipalities.”5 This “trove of information” could ultimately be much more valuable than all those tax incentives and grants. If this is the future of urban development, our city officials and citizens must attend to the ownership and stewardship not only of their public land, but also of their public data. The mismanagement of either could—to paraphrase our four books’ titles—elongate the dark shadows cast by growing inequality, abet the siege of exploitation and displacement, “hollow out” our already homogenizing neighborhoods, and expedite the departure of an already “gone” city.

As Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti muses in his “Pictures of the Gone World 11,” which inspired Walker’s title: “The world is a beautiful place / to be born into / if you don’t mind some people dying / all the time / or maybe only starving / some of the time / which isn’t half so bad / if it isn’t you.” This is precisely the sort of solipsism and stratification that tech-libertarianism and capitalist development promotes—and that responsible planning, design, and public stewardship must prevent."
cities  shannonmattern  2019  sanfrancisco  siliconvalley  nyc  washingtondc  seattle  amazon  google  apple  facebook  technology  inequality  governance  libertarianism  urban  urbanism  microsoft  jenniferlight  louisemozingo  margareto'mara  fredturner  efficiency  growth  marginalization  publicgood  civics  innovation  rebeccasolnit  gentrification  privatization  homogenization  susanschwartzenberg  carymcclelland  economics  policy  politics  richardwalker  bayarea  lisonisenberg  janejacobs  robertmoses  diversity  society  inclusivity  inclusion  exclusion  counterculture  cybercultue  culture  progressive  progressivism  wealth  corporatism  labor  alexkaufman  imperialism  colonization  californianideology  california  neoliberalism  privacy  technosolutionism  urbanization  socialjustice  environment  history  historiography  redevelopment  urbanplanning  design  activism  landscape  ruthasawa  gender  sexuality  openspace  publicspace  searanch  toronto  larenceferlinghetti  susanschartzenberg  bobbiestauffacher  careerose  stuartrose  ghirardellisqure  marionconrad  illustration  a 
23 days ago by robertogreco
DIGNITY- The Displaced Women of Oakland - YouTube
"Gentrification is a large cause of displacement in many major cities. As cities undergo rapid development, rent prices rise, leading to increasing rates of homelessness.

“Dignity” focuses on the unhoused women and girls in the city of Oakland, California. Gentrification is very prevalent in the city and issues facing homeless women and girls are generally overlooked. This film is meant to shed light on the causes and effects of this displacement."
oakland  displacement  gentrification  2019  housing  cities  urban  urbanism  homelessness  homeless  women  gender 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
ALENA MUSEUM
"Alena Museum is nonprofit 501(c)3 creative space that houses multi-disciplinary arts and work studios to cultivate the cultural richness of the African Diaspora. In the African language of Tigrinya Alena translates to  “we are here!"  Alena Museum declares that "we are here" by providing access for the African Diaspora to create original work and keep dedicated space for creative expression, in the face of the rapid displacement of these communities as a result of gentrification. We are empowering our community to be active players in this new economy in order to directly  mitigate displacement and marginalization."

[See also: https://www.instagram.com/alenamuseum/ ]

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BiOzLvhlgtq/ ]
lcproject  openstudioproject  art  arts  coworking  gentrification  studios  africandiaspora  diaspora  oakland  bayarea  tovisit  via:morgansully 
may 2018 by robertogreco
The Psycho-Geography of Gentrification in L.A. – más allá de la política
"Gentrification as the intensification of the psycho-geography of the real subsumption of everything to Capital. No place for cultural remanants outside its logic. The banalisation of all spaces, streamlining consumption. You don't live here, you just buy here. [https://twitter.com/edcns_ineditos/status/988603623276871682 ]

But what does this mean?

Much has been written about gentrification, but simply put it is the name for the rise of property values (and then ipso facto rent prices), resulting in displacement and often cultural erasure of those who were displaced. As Stuart Hall said, “race is the modality in which class is lived” and so by this logic gentrification is also deeply racialized. But what is the cause of this rise is more contentious. Some point to art galleries/spaces; others to international & national real estate speculation looking for new markets to profit off of; some see it is as a natural process of re-vitalization of areas once thought of as blight (if life under Capital could be seen as natural); some see the incursion of the (white) hipster as the cause. Suffice to say the cause is complex and may include all of these.

Now what is psycho-geography? In 1955, Guy Debord [a French anti-state communist who wrote much about art & cinema & The Spectacle] defined it as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” Of course, as gentrification attests, the physical environment we encounter does not effect all of us in the same way. Later in 1961, he clarified things a bit by saying, “sectors of a city…are decipherable, but the personal meaning they have for us is incommunicable.” We may all be able to see how hostile architecture (as seen below) works to discourage loitering and/or camping by the homeless, though others may not understand why the appearance of a juice bar (also seen below) may be just as offensive to some of us (especially since a Mexican juice & snack shop is right up the street selling the same thing at cheaper prices).

[images]

So psycho-geography could be a way to think about how certain spaces in a city could be seen as either welcoming, hostile or open-ended. Most spaces are very controlled in Los Angeles, though their control is highly racialized. For instance, public drinking is illegal in Los Angeles but curiously at art gallery openings, where a largely white audience take their Tecates or cheap red wine onto the sidewalks or street, there seems to be little enforcement of this law. The video below, take from a 2010 documentary on Skid Row, sheds some light on this racialization:

[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB_P3eljq1Y ]

Part of the power of whiteness is that those emboldened by it feel they can and should be able to go anywhere and be safe. Freedom of movement and safety are two things we all desire, but because whiteness is something which demands defense under the White-Supremacist society we live in — that enforcement comes along with an armed gang with a monopoly on violence: The Police. There are countless of stories of white people calling the police on Black or brown people where there was indeed no threat and the Black or brown person ends up being brutalized or killed by the police. One of the clear fears of Black and brown proletarians who live in a neighborhood being gentrified is that with new white neighbors with money, so will come a police force who either would ignore their neighborhood in the past or would already terrorize their neighborhood. What were normal house parties would now attract aggressive police attention (house parties which occur because often bars/clubs prove too expensive for proletarians).
But what does “the real subsumption of everything to Capital” mean? This is a topic which has been explained much better in Ultra-Left communist texts than could be explained here, but briefly as Endnotes note in their second volume: “formal subsumption affects only the immediate labour-process, while real subsumption extends beyond the sphere of production to society as a whole.” Or as Théorie communiste put it, it is “capital becoming capitalist society.”

So, at one point in time Capital only absolutely controlled proletarians when at work, but over time Capital has been able to control proletarians non-labor time as well (“free time)”. Gentrification could very well be seen as the intensification of this control within (typically) the realm of the city. One of the tell-tale signs of gentrification is how what were once old mom-and-pop shops which likely fulfilled a need within a specific ethnic neighborhood (fresh tortillas and tamales!), transition to boutique or high-end shops which fulfill needs much more based on commodity-fetishism: the purchase of things (or services) not so much based on need but based on what they say about the purchaser:

[images]

I buy a coffee at Café de Leche because it says that I have refined taste in coffee and also that I have the disposable income to spend much more for something as banal as coffee, rather than picking up a cup from a Cambodian-owned donut shop for much less. I buy crystals supposedly-imbued with healing or other properties because I see they are part of a trend I've come across on Instagram (and I will post them on Instagram) vs. buying candles in a local botánica from a culture I don't know enough about to spin for social capital.

Interestingly enough many times defenders of gentrification advocates say that the changes brought by gentrification amount to bringing much needed services and/or access to certain commodities to poorer neighborhoods; or some even claim they are bringing culture & difference. The first claim assumes that residents wished they could pay more for the things already for sale in their neighborhoods. This second claim is rather ludicrous as anyone who has visited more than a few gentrified neighborhoods will attest to their sameness: juice shop, high-end café, yoga studio, crystal shop, wine shop, etc. What gentrification is bringing is the blight of middle-class/bourgeois whiteness. A blight which sees itself as the default and cannot imagine that those outside of it could not want what they want.

El Sereno starts to look like Highland Park which looks more and more like Echo Park which inevitably becomes annexed by Silver Lake.

More and more what could have been a street where people hung out on and could buy cheap snacks to pass the time becomes a place where one cannot visit without spending less than $20 (currently LA’s minimum wage can be as low as $10.50/hr). The last remnants of what some would call community disappears. A recent LA Times article on the creeping gentrification faced in Lincoln Heights notes how some people stay in this L.A Eastside neighborhood not just because it is still relatively cheap, but because they have found a place they cherish and call home. For the petit-bourgeois/bourgeois who see themselves as cosmopolitan and shuttle from living in one city to another and then on to another city based on whim or fancy, Lincoln Heights has no historical or personal meaning. Their newly-flipped rental (or mortgage) is just a nice place (with maybe a nice view).

• "Oh you can see Downtown L.A. from here."
• "It's so conveniently close to everything."
• "It feels like a real L.A. neighborhood -- not like Echo Park does now."
• "It's really an up-and-coming neighborhood!"
• "If only it had a Trader Joe's!"

Gentrification is the further realization of the power of Capital over the lives of proletarians. And this realization says one thing loudly & clearly: you don’t matter and your connection to a place does not matter. Perhaps the coming years will continue to show a Los Angeles which says:

FUCK YOU, WE DON'T WANT TO LIVE WITHIN THE LOGIC OF WHAT CAPITAL THINKS MATTERS. WE WANT TO LIVE OUTSIDE OF ITS LOGIC AND WILL DESTROY CAPITAL IF NECESSARY.

Cuz we know when we drive or walk around a gentrifying Los Angeles we know that what we see is akin to a fuck you to the revolt of 1992. Capital is taking the city back and it’s time we remind Capital of what we can and will do."
losangeles  gentrification  psychogeography  2018  guydebord  whiteness  capitalism 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Opinion | The Democrats’ Gentrification Problem - The New York Times
"Research that focuses on the way city neighborhoods are changing by income, race and ethnicity, while not specifically addressed to political consequences, helps us see the potential for conflict within the Democratic coalition.

Robert J. Sampson, a sociologist at Harvard, published a detailed study in 2015 for the St. Louis Federal Reserve of the economic composition of neighborhoods. Overall, he found, “middle-income neighborhoods are tenuous,” while neighborhoods at the top and bottom of the economic ladder have remained strikingly stable."



"Upscale liberal whites “who consider themselves committed to racial justice” tend to be “NIMBYists when it comes to their neighborhoods,” Cain wrote, “not living up to their affordable housing commitments and resisting apartment density around mass transportation stops.”"



"As intraparty economic and racial divisions have increased within the Democratic coalition, the political power of the well-to-do has grown at the expense of racial and ethnic minorities."



"The maneuvers in California are a reflection of a larger problem for Democrats: their inability to reconcile the conflicts inherent in the party’s economic and racial bifurcation."



"Democratic politicians should respond by imposing higher taxes on the wealthy and spending the proceeds on the less well off."



"The progressivity of income taxes has decreased, reliance on regressive consumption taxes has increased, and the taxation of capital has followed a global race to the bottom. Instead of boosting infrastructure investment, governments have pursued austerity policies that are particularly harmful to low-skill workers. Big banks and corporations have been bailed out, but households have not. In the United States, the minimum wage has not been adjusted sufficiently, allowing it to erode in real terms."



Rodrik cites the work of the French economist Thomas Piketty, who argues that political parties on the left have been taken over, here and in Europe, “by the well-educated elite” — what Piketty calls the “Brahmin Left.” The Brahmin Left, writes Rodrik,
is not friendly to redistribution, because it believes in meritocracy — a world in which effort gets rewarded and low incomes are more likely to be the result of insufficient effort than poor luck.
"



"The Democrats will become the party of urban cosmopolitan business liberalism, and the Republicans will become the party of suburban and rural nationalist populism."



"The force that had historically pushed policy to the economic left — organized labor — has for the most part been marginalized. African-American and Hispanic voters have shown little willingness to join Democratic reform movements led by upper middle class whites, as shown in their lack of enthusiasm for Bill Bradley running against Al Gore in 2000 or Sanders running against Clinton in 2016.

The hurdle facing those seeking to democratize elite domination of the Democratic Party is finding voters and donors who have a sustained interest in redistributive policies — and the minimum wage is only a small piece of this. Achieving that goal requires an economically coherent center-left political coalition. It also requires the ability to overcome the seemingly insuperable political divisions between the white working class and the African-American and Hispanic working classes — that elusive but essential multiracial — and now multiethnic — majority. Establishing that majority in a coherent political coalition is the only way in which the economic interests of those in the bottom half of the income distribution will be effectively addressed."
inequality  us  politics  democrats  meritocracy  2018  democracy  taxes  capitalism  capital  gentrification  cities  urban  urbanism  nimbyism  california  policy  progressives  wealth  unions  labor  thomaspiketty  michaellind  danirodrik  elitism  liberalism  neoliberalism  republicans  donaldtrump  race  racism  class  classism  segregation  thomasedsall 
april 2018 by robertogreco
True Topographics
"True Topographics is a documentary landscape project focused exclusively on documenting the gentrification and redevelopment of Hollywood, California."
hollywood  losangeles  gentrification  photography  kwasiboyd-bouldin 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Undercommoning – Revolution within, against, and beyond the University
"No nostalgia for the past | No nostalgia for the future

Undercommoning is building a North American network of radical organizers within, against, and beyond the (neo)liberal, (neo)colonial university.

We host critical discussions and engagements to build solidarity around radical and marginalized forms of knowledge and undercommons-centred power. We aspire to create heterogenous networks that will link disparate geographic locations while also facilitating meaningful relationships around local, place-based organizing.

Undercommoning is an evolving network of radical organizers within, against, and beyond the neoliberal, (neo)colonial university in North America. We seek to experiment with and broadcast new ways of working together, new forms of study, and new pathways to solidarity."



"What is the Undercommoning Project?

We participate in and affirm those activist projects that oppose and seek alternatives to gentrification, commercialization, rising student debt and tuition, low wages for university staff and contract labor, and the academy’s attempts to hold a monopoly on the production of knowledge.

We host occasional critical online discussions called “encounters,” broadcast and publish interviews with activists, and otherwise solicit and disseminate texts and projects that build solidarity around radical and marginalized forms of knowledge and to sustain and amplify the undercommons: those networks of struggle, study and creativity that exist within, outside and in spite of the university.

We aim to create platforms to connect those struggling in the shadows of the university: not only workers and students within the institution, but those for free education, autonomous learning, and collective study outside of the university’s walls. The Undercommoning project provides a framework to link diverse local struggles so that they can gain strength and insight from one another’s efforts and visions.

What does Undercommoning mean?
We discuss the project and its goals in more detail in this article: http://undercommoning.org/undercommoning-within-against-and-beyond/

Who we are
The Undercommoning Project is an alliance of outcasts and fugitive knowledge workers struggling in the margins and on the edges of the universities that wrought us.

As a network, we aim to connect to one another both continentally and locally, appropriating where we can the new technologies of digital communication and meeting in person when possible.

The network is maintained by a rotating “Collective” of 10-15 people, most of whom are precarious academic or university workers, some of whom have exited the university. We work semi-anonymously to avoid the recuperative and repressive forces of academic capitalism.

We reject the artificial hierarchies of knowledge and prestige that are the weapons of the university. As such, we are open to anyone onto whom the university casts its shadow, from custodial workers to dropouts, from adjunct faculty to administrative support staff, from students to food servers, from trade unionists to activists building alternative institutions.

We work in the tradition of militant inquiry: bottom-up collective learning dedicated to building community capacities for radical social change. Our project seeks to amplify everyday forms of resistance. The online forum is a place to share radical critiques and strategies for overturning a system where education is a transaction. Further, we recognize the education many of us have received owes an unpayable debt to oppression in the forms of colonialism, slavery, and dispossession of indigenous communities.

What we do?

While we are just getting off the ground now, as a collective, we aim to……

• Host regular online meet-ups for organizers and thinkers to learn about one another’s struggles and build solidarity and capacity.
• Publish interviews, transcripts, essays, news and examples from struggles around the world
• Organize local events where organizers can gather and make common cause.
• Act as a network for organizers and activists within, against, and beyond the university.
• Reveal and challenge the North American university as a site working at the junction of settler-colonialism, neoliberal capitalism, hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy and other systems of domination and exploitation. We also diagnose the university as a key institution of power that works in concert with police, prisons, the financial system, the ‘lower’ education system, punitive state bureaucracies, culture industries and other means of oppression.
• Catalyze intersectional solidarity between and beyond laborers of the university, including: precarious academic workers; clerical, technical, food service, maintenance, and other support workers; subcontracted workers; exploited student laborers; international learners’ and those ejected from or refused by the university.
• Valorize the labor of the “undercommons”, promoting the autonomy of these forms of bottom-up refusal, collaboration, solidarity and mass intellectuality that the university at once subjugates and requires for its survival.
How can I find out more?

Our hallmarks
• Anti-colonial: towards the reclamation and revalourization of Indigenous, non-white and proletarian forms of learning/study/community-building/praxis.
• Anti-racist: Towards a politics of liberation, against the afterlives of slavery and ongoing forms of racial capitalism which universities sustain and reproduce
• Anticapitalist: against the university as an Edu-factory and against schools as reproducers of class relations
• No nostalgia: for the public education or Keynesian university-that-never-was
• Feminist: for dismantling patriarchy and hetero-and-cis-sexism
• Trans-&-Queer-Liberationist: Towards a queer rebellion, against homonormative forms of capture and the valo(u)rization of new capitalist demographics
• Autonomist: grassroots self-organization, extraparliamentary, non-sectarian
• Accomplices: beyond allyship, strategizing with, not for, and ready to betray academic institutions
• Undercommoning: radical networks, resource redirection, subversion, non-participation
• Experimentation/exodus: radical creativity and courage
• Solidarity: learning/study in league with communities, struggles, etc.
• Strategic optimism: not just a pity party or a social club"
highered  highereducation  undercommons  stefanohaney  fredmoten  academia  gentrification  learning  neoliberalism  capitalism  colonialism  decolonization  praxis  feminism  networks  allyship  solidarity  optimism  strategicoptimism  education  anicapitalism  antiracism  indigenous  indigeneity  colleges  universities 
december 2017 by robertogreco
A Manifesto – Evergreen Review
"We devise and concoct ways to make each other beg for the most meager of resources. Death, which should simply be something that comes to us, is instead an instrument of dominion and torture. We have perfected instruments of death-making. We extend such deathery even to our social systems, creating ways to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable among us will die because the rest of us don’t believe they deserve the methods and technologies by which we keep ourselves alive."



"And yet, even in our imagination, we cannot conceive of a world where abundance is enough. We can literally create anything we want and live without want, but we still want more.

In this imagined new world, we are still at war with others, crisscrossing space to divide it up into sectors and grids, cutting up even empty air into parcels the way we do patches of land. We make the vast and incomprehensible universe malleable by exerting our history of dispossession onto it. Our thirst for possession is as boundless as the universe we inhabit. Even our imagination is limited by avarice. This is why, dear aliens, I feel no real pain or sadness at the thought of what you might do to us. The sorrows and suffering we have inflicted upon each other, the degradations, the humiliations, the pain, the contrasts in resources and the creation of need—nothing in the universe can match what we have already done."



"Like the utopias they bring forth, manifestos are birthed in the possibility of failure. They succeed not in the audacity of hope but in the audacity of despair. What is the present and the future we need to keep imagining? What is a utopia? What is the nature of our utopias? Do we still dare to have any?"



"No one is outside ideology. Yet, too many Americans believe they are, and prefer to focus on how they feel: a particularly American problem is the preponderance of affect in politics. But when it comes to politics—to anything that calls itself justice—we should only pay attention to two questions: what do people need, and how do we get them what they need without having to beg? Yet our political programs are neither initiated nor sustained by the will to redistribute our ridiculously ample resources. Rather, we obsess over whether the people who receive them are worthy of our care. We ask questions we never ask the well-off: Are you deserving? Do you have the proper moral character? If we give you this money, how do we know you won’t spend it on cigarettes? If you buy food, will it be junk food or apples? But wait, how can we be sure you won’t blow it all on lobster?"



"If you want our help, then make us weep for you.

In that, the left has failed miserably. The left can barely articulate what it stands for without weeping for forgiveness for its own existence. This manifesto is an attempt to instantiate the left. How do we learn to be the left fearlessly, without either shame or arrogance?"



"No doubt, dear aliens, you will have found in your exploration of our debris or our archives (who knows in what state you encounter us) rants from leftists about “identity” or “identitarianism.” It has been difficult to convince this kind of activist that a true left finds a way to think about getting people what they need without erasing the material realities of their lives, but without capitulating to the essentializing of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Yet, even now, in most left organizations, it is women who do the emailing and the cleaning up, while the menfolk spout on about the revolution."



"A true left abjures philanthropy, which only enables the concentration of wealth by providing the super wealthy with fantastic tax breaks. A true left fights for a society where housing is not a matter of investment linked to the survival of an economy but simply a right. It fights for a world where prisons don’t exist to extract life from those whose failings, real or imagined, we cannot confront and whom we would rather shut away forever."



"
Such focus on Trump’s xenophobia ignores the fact that the millions of undocumented in this country became such under Bill Clinton. Two pieces of immigration legislation, in 1994 and 1996, made many simple misdemeanours into felonies only for non-citizens, and created the three- and ten-year bars on re-entry, which pushed undocumented people, now afraid of not being allowed to return if they should leave the country, into the shadows. Arguably, Trump has fine-tuned such mechanisms, but the tools for expulsion and removal were left there by Democratic administrations and are simply being sharpened and honed by this one."



"Resistance, like the heart, is a muscle, and needs to be constantly exercised. Instead, it’s become a buzzword. It’s made people think that somehow they’re soldiers now, fighting on every front. Ongoing work gets rebranded as “resistance” as if magically, due to the presence of Voldemort, everything changed overnight. The press plays up a collective sense of impending doom, making it seem like our lives are now unfolding like a scene from The Deathly Hallows."



"To liberals and lefties, this August 2016 exchange was evidence of Trump’s madness and his dangerously childish naivete. But in fact Trump’s response revealed the idiocy of nuclear weaponry and exposed the irrationality at the heart of American foreign policy: that somehow there is nothing wrong about possessing nuclear weapons."



"Neoliberalism is in fact capitalism made familiar, which is why I describe it as the endless privatisation of everyday life. It survives on vectors of intimacy, transforming capitalism into an emotional matter rather than an economic one, even though its incursions and devastations are deadly and long-lasting precisely because of the way it serves to insinuate itself into the machinations of the daily world."



"This is not to wax nostalgic about “neighborhoods” or to imply that everyone needs to be an “ethical gentrifier,” but to point out that the economic structure in relation to something as basic as housing is entirely set up to benefit the banking and finance industry. Meanwhile, Chicago resolutely and proudly refers to itself as a city of neighborhoods. The question is: who gets to belong, who gets phased out?"



"how neoliberalism operates upon various vectors of intimacy, and how that intimacy cuts across lines of class, race, and gender with varying effects."



"Over and over, Chicago and other cities fetishise their “neighborhood feel,” creating “community” out of displacement, demanding that the displaced then return only to satisfy the cravings the new residents refuse to acknowledge or to perform the jobs beneath the newcomers’ pay grade. Home ownership is what Americans, gay and straight, are expected to do as married people and the intimacy of married life brutally occludes the covert and hidden intimacies of transactions that keep underground economies flourishing.

Neoliberalism seduces us with its intimacy. Intimacy with our workplace, our occupation, the idea of having to “love” what you do: our work becomes our lover. Neoliberalism feeds off our sense of constant economic precariousness by convincing us that we must never demand more from the state or corporations, that what we label “sharing” economies are somehow community-based endeavors. And so people everywhere distribute their labor almost for free, in workplaces that are described as “mobile” and to which they “commute” as free agents. But these are in fact far more onerous than regular workplaces, and are mostly unregulated enterprises, and offer neither benefits nor protections (the field of “left publishing", including this publication, consists almost entirely of such labor).

But what they do is put us in touch with our own labor as something we control, birth, operate. We work with the illusion of control, but we are compelled, all the while, to cede it. We believe that having no control over the circumstances of our lives yields an intimacy that we cannot get elsewhere.

Neoliberalism survives as well as it does because its machinations allow people to express dissent even as they in fact only echo support for its worst effects. During Occupy, it was incredible to watch so many take to the streets, finally critical of how capitalism had wreaked its havoc. But as I wound my way through the massive crowds and their signs, it also became evident that the palpable anger was not so much at the system but that the system had failed them. Signs everywhere said, in effect, “I did the right thing for years, and I was still screwed over.” Everywhere, there was an anger at the ruling classes, certainly, but I couldn’t help but recall yet again those words about America’s “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” The subsequent bailouts only confirmed a widespread sense that if we just fix the system, we can make it all better, when the system itself is the problem, and “fixing” it only serves to concentrate resources and power in the hands of fewer and fewer people."



"Capitalism flows unimpeded."



" Western analysts take their own social freedoms for granted—average Americans have, for many decades, left their parental homes in their late teens—but when it comes to other and what they fondly imagine as “more traditional” cultures, would prefer it if everyone just stayed transfixed in quaint old ways, please.

Neoliberalism fills the immediate needs of people in ways that other systems cannot—because, yes, that’s how capitalism functions, by dismantling our existing structures, and creating a need for new ones that provide the illusion of stability but in fact cause more harm. Consider schooling, at least in the US. We first eviscerated public education by defunding it, except in the wealthiest districts, and then created a demand for (exploitative, ruinous, substandard) … [more]
yasminnair  2017  society  manifestos  left  love  compassion  justice  socialjustice  utopia  ideology  charity  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  government  excess  abundance  hunger  healthcare  gender  race  racism  sexism  homophobia  neoliberalism  capitalism  feminism  systems  sytemsthinking  socialism  communism  migration  immigration  donaldtrump  barackobama  hillaryclinton  resistance  future  climatechange  neighborhoods  gentrification  chicago  privatization  class  classism  poverty  sexuality  intersectionality  compromise  change  organization  economics  power  control 
october 2017 by robertogreco
E744: Initialized Capital Operating Partner & TechCrunch contributor Kim-Mai Cutler on affordable housing crisis in San Francisco Bay Area at intersection of race, class, & Silicon Valley | This Week In Startups
"Housing has become a hot button issue in the Bay Area, and in fact, the world, with homes being unaffordable and the ability to produce more housing being throttled by a number of interests. Housing in the Bay Area has become more expensive than anywhere else in the country, and the ability to rent an apartment has reached a level that has exceeded NYC. Our guest today, Kim-Mai Cutler, is a Bay Area native, Initialized Capital Operating Partner, TechCrunch contributor, and has become an authority on housing in the Bay Area. Join us as she explains the affordable housing crisis, the structural issue of power, the causes and consequences of transit fragmentation, gentrification and income inequality, and more."
housing  2017  california  kim-maicutler  sanfrancisco  losangeles  nyc  oakland  sanmateo  paloalto  cupertino  history  transportation  bart  bayarea  gentrification  policy  politics  proposition13  inequality 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Where is Gentrification Happening in Your City? | Data-Smart City Solutions
"Gentrification—demographic and physical changes in neighborhoods that bring in wealthier residents, greater investment, and more development—has become a buzzword in urban planning. As traditionally low-income neighborhoods across the U.S. gentrify, social justice advocates have become increasingly concerned about displacement, the dislocation of low-income residents due to prohibitive prices. As a result, policymakers and urban planners have begun to consider strategies to combat the byproducts of gentrification in recently-developed or developing neighborhoods, such as providing low-cost amenities and rent controlled or low-income housing.

The first step in addressing gentrification is understanding where it has happened and where it is likely to happen in the future. A number of cities have found mapping to be a powerful tool for observing gentrification trends, allowing them to intervene before low-income residents are seriously affected. Cities have created maps using data mostly from public sources both to better understand historical trends in gentrification and displacement and predict the next areas where low-income residents are likely to lose their homes. While each model is unique, all display methodologies that are applicable across cities. For a factor by factor overview of models in seven U.S. cities, see

Los Angeles i-Team’s Indices of Neighborhood Change and Displacement Pressure

Urban Displacement Project Los Angeles Map of Neighborhood Change

Portland’s Susceptibility to Gentrification Model

Seattle Displacement Risk Analysis

Boston’s Displacement-Risk Map

Urban Displacement Project San Francisco Bay Area Displacement Risk Analysis

The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development’s Displacement Alert Project Map
Limitations

Appendix: Comparison of Models"
gentrification  displacement  demographics  maps  mapping  losangeles  sanfrancisco  bayarea  seattle  portland  oregon  boston  housing  2017  chrisbousquet 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Urban Displacement Los Angeles Map | Urban Displacement Project
"The UCLA team developed a neighborhood database for the Los Angeles County region to include a series of data on demographic, socio-economic and housing characteristics in both transit and non-transit neighborhoods. We analyzed this data to better understand where gentrification has happened or is currently happening, as well as which neighborhoods are vulnerable to gentrification. Additionally, we also examined neighborhood upscaling which can occur in both disadvantaged and advantaged neighborhoods in terms of income, human capital, and housing cost. Our data and analysis are summarized in a series of interactive maps. While the UCLA and UCB teams worked in tandem, the outcomes and types of maps are not identical because of differences in project funding, project scope, and data availability in the two regions.

Key Findings

• Our analysis found that areas around transit stations are changing and that many of the changes are in direction of neighborhood upscaling and gentrification.

• Examining the changes from 2000 to 2013, we find that relative to non-transit areas, transit neighborhoods are more associated with higher increases in whites, college educated, higher income households and greater increases in the cost of rent. Conversely, transit neighborhoods are associated with greater losses in disadvantaged populations including individuals with less than a high school diploma and lower income households.

• The impacts of changes vary across locations but the biggest impacts seem to be around the Downtown areas where transit-oriented development interacts with other interventions aiming to revitalize the urban form."
displacement  gentrification  losangeles  maps  mapping 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Urban Displacement San Francisco Map | Urban Displacement Project
"The Bay Area’s booming jobs and housing market necessitates a careful look at the causes and consequences of neighborhood change to protect residents that are most vulnerable to potentially being displaced. Wages for the Bay Area’s low income residents have not kept pace with the sky-rocketing housing prices resulting in massive demographic shifts in the area.

UC Berkeley analyzed regional data on housing, income and other demographics to better understand and predict where gentrification and displacement is happening and will likely occur in the future. This analysis, which is summarized in the interactive maps, will allow communities to better characterize their experience and risk of displacement and to stimulate action. The analysis behind these maps was validated through in-depth case studies of 9 Bay Area communities and with the support and advice of the Regional Prosperity Plan at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. In developing 8 neighborhood displacement typologies, communities can better understand where they’re at and develop actions to prevent from advancing in the stages of gentrification and displacement.

Key Findings:

• In 2013, 48 percent of census tracts and more than 53 percent of low-income households lived in neighborhoods at risk of or already experiencing displacement and gentrification pressures.

• Neighborhoods with rail stations, historic housing stock, and rising housing prices are especially at risk of losing low-income households.

• Low income neighborhoods are not the only ones experiencing displacement pressures – many higher income neighborhoods that still house low income households are also rapidly losing low income population.

• The number of tracts at risk of displacement are 123% higher than the numbers already experiencing them, indicating that the transformation of the Bay Area will continue to accelerate."
displacement  gentrification  sanfrancisco  bayarea  maps  mapping 
june 2017 by robertogreco
How Gentrifying Neighborhoods Fall Short on Diversity - CityLab
"We have been so segregated in the United States and that now that whites are attracted and willing to move into what was formerly a low-income African-American neighborhood does symbolize some progress, in terms of race relations in the United States. That we have mixed-income, mixed-race neighborhoods, I think, is a very positive thing.

But that diversity not necessarily benefiting the former residents. Most of the mechanisms by which low-income people would benefit from this change are related to social interaction—that low-, middle-, and upper-income people would start to talk to one another. They would problem solve with one another. They would all get involved civically together to bolster their political power. But what we're really seeing is a micro-level segregation. You see diversity along race, class, sexual orientation overall, but when you get into the civic institutions—the churches, the recreation centers, the restaurants, the clubs, the coffee shops—most of them are segregated. So you're not getting a meaningful interaction across race, class, and difference. If we think that mixed-income, mixed-race communities are the panacea for poverty, they're not.

During my research, for example, I had a lot of people tell me that they were pleased with the redevelopment because they felt it was associated with reductions in crime. They felt that it would be safer for their kids and their families. But then I would say, “What else is happening in this neighborhood?” “Oh well, the amenities are coming in that we can't utilize or don't want to utilize them.” “We're losing our political power, because most of the civic associations used to be African-American, and then flipped.” So there's a political loss that's also occurring.

And then also you've got some people in this community that I say in the book are “living The Wire”—looking for iconic ghetto stereotypes. Some newcomers thought it was hip and cool, that it actually brought them more credibility because they were living in a neighborhood that was edgy and rough. Crime and blackness is associated in the minds of some newcomers—and that’s really problematic. Low-income residents, on the other hand, think crime is detrimental to their kids’ opportunities and to their health.

Sociologist Robert Sampson writes a lot about collective efficacy: that controlling crime brings people together across difference, as a community. But in a place where crime is perceived differently by a long term and newcomer populations, that’s not going to happen.

So, for newcomers, the diversity is an aesthetic or a superficial feature. It attracts them to the neighborhood, at times, because they have stereotypical ideas about the culture of that neighborhood. And once they start living there, they often don’t engage with neighbors—especially across racial and class lines—in a meaningful way. At the same time, you note in your book, that older residents are also suspicious of newcomers. What’s the reason that different groups are reluctant to talk to each other?

We just have to look at race relations in America to understand that there tends to be a mistrust of people who are different, regardless of whether you're living miles and miles away, or whether you're living next door to them.

I would also say that the current climate in gentrified spaces is one where newcomers typically come in, and instead of politically integrating, they do a political takeover. They start to take over the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) in D.C. They take over the city council seats. And then, they start instituting policies that relate more to their tastes and preferences and their idea of what they want the community to look like. They advocate for things like the bike lanes, coffee shops, and dog parks.

There's a great example in the book where the first off-leash dog park was developed in the Shaw-U Street area. It was advocated for by a civic association that was dominated by white newcomers and they got less than half a million dollars for it. I spent time doing my ethnography at this park, and I noticed that African-Americans, who had dogs, that were living around this park, didn’t enter it. I asked them, “You've got a dog, why don’t you use this space?” “Oh, no, no, no. We're not going to use that because that space is not for us.” I said, “why isn't it for you?” “It was put in place by a white-led civic association. They got the money and that's their space.” This person felt like they weren't included in the political process. Other residents mentioned how, for years before newcomer whites came in, they had been advocating for improvements in that park—and nothing occurred. So there was a lot of resentment by longterm residents."
diversity  gentrification  2017  tanvimisra  politics  money  cities  neighborhoods  race  class  robertsampson  derekhyra  harlem  bronzeville  nyc  washingtondc  baltimore  urban  ubanism 
may 2017 by robertogreco
How to Get Rid of Your Landlord and Socialize American Housing, in 3 Easy Steps | The Nation
"Homelessness, unaffordable urban real estate, devastating gentrification, and the housing bubble are all rooted in privatized housing."



"More fundamentally, though, what we call private housing is actually public land that government has set aside for private purposes. Land, save the bits beneath one’s feet, can’t be “possessed,” as a phone or a shirt can. What a “land owner” possesses is a deed—a voucher one may redeem with the government to marshal violence (through policing) to exclude all competing claimants. The government established this location-exclusion program, designating pieces of nature as being solely for the use of the deed holders, and devoting its violent capabilities to enforcing that designation. In the 19th century, the government enacted homesteading laws to allow frontier settlers to claim indigenous lands as their own. If those deeds were challenged, the federal government sent troops to back them up. Or look at the 20th century, when the government funded highways and commuter transit—the Federal Housing Administration extended loan guarantees to new housing developments in order to create a massive suburban private-housing stock. The entire apparatus by which housing is privately “owned” is created by the government’s decisions to subsidize or protect certain interests.

Ostensibly, the government pursues the public interest, but treating real estate as privately owned wealth, as a financial asset, has devastating public effects. On a grand scale, treating land as an asset allows speculators to create bubbles large enough to threaten global economic collapse. The housing bubble—really a land bubble—of the last decade bid the price of land up so high, concocting such dangerous “complex financial instruments” to turn out so many sub-prime mortgages, that the burst was enough to sink some of the world’s most profitable firms, plunge us into the Great Recession, extinguish the majority of all black wealth in the United States, bankrupt pension funds worldwide, and destroy the governments of Greece, Iceland, and other nations.

Closer to home, private ownership of land underlies racist segregation. The aforementioned FHA policy, for instance, designed to protect homeowners’ access to gains in their houses’ location value, provided white people with the incentive to take their capital and flee urban centers for sprawling exurban developments, there to adopt racial exclusivity covenants, in order to prevent black people from moving in and undermining the location price—thus, the plot of A Raisin in the Sun. In the resulting “inner city,” which the public Home Owners’ Loan Corporation “red-lined” on its residential security maps, black people who were locked out of “middle-class” neighborhoods were conscripted to capital-starved, decaying ghettos, where parasitic slumlords reigned supreme.

Finally, developers have an incentive to snap up urban land and then leave it vacant until it appreciates in value, driven by community development around it, and then sell it. Meanwhile, residents have to live with the social repercussions of a community riddled with vacant lots.

What to do?

There are a few ways to turn land and housing stock toward the public good.

An exclusion fee …

Community land trusts …

Public housing …

Gentrification, home-mortgage bubbles, homelessness, skyrocketing rent—these are not facts of nature. They are the outcomes of the policies that consign the basic human need of location to the whims of rent-obsessed landlords and chop-licking speculators looking for an easy flip. Private land policies are as evil today as they were almost 4 centuries ago when the Pilgrims near Bridgewater, Massachusetts, arrested Wampanoag people for hunting on a tract of land after the Pilgrims had “purchased” it. “What is this you call property?” the sachem, Massasoit, argued on that occasion. “It cannot be the earth, for the land is our Mother…. everything on it belongs to everybody and is for the use of all. How then can one man say it belongs to him only?” There was no satisfactory retort then, and there isn’t one now."
2015  jessemyerson  housing  realestate  ownership  land  gentrification  history  race  inequality  capitalism  policy  politics  vienna  eminentdomain  boston  communitylandtrusts  exclusionfees  publichousing  publicinterest 
january 2017 by robertogreco
A Boom Interview: Mike Davis in conversation with Jennifer Wolch and Dana Cuff – Boom California
"Dana Cuff: You told us that you get asked about City of Quartz too often, so let’s take a different tack. As one of California’s great urban storytellers, what is missing from our understanding of Los Angeles?

Mike Davis: The economic logic of real estate and land development. This has always been the master key to understanding spatial and racial politics in Southern California. As the late-nineteenth century’s most influential radical thinker—I’m thinking of San Francisco’s Henry George not Karl Marx—explained rather magnificently, you cannot reform urban space without controlling land values. Zoning and city planning—the Progressive tools for creating the City Beautiful—either have been totally co-opted to serve the market or died the death of a thousand cuts, that is to say by variances. I was briefly an urban design commissioner in Pasadena in the mid-1990s and saw how easily state-of-the-art design standards and community plans were pushed aside by campaign contributors and big developers.

If you don’t intervene in the operation of land markets, you’ll usually end up producing the opposite result from what you intended. Over time, for instance, improvements in urban public space raise home values and tend to become amenity subsidies for wealthier people. In dynamic land markets and central locations, nonprofits can’t afford to buy land for low-income housing. Struggling artists and hipsters inadvertently become the shock troops of gentrification and soon can’t afford to live in the neighborhoods and warehouse districts they invigorated. Affordable housing and jobs move inexorably further apart and the inner-city crisis ends up in places like San Bernardino.

If you concede that the stabilization of land values is the precondition for long-term democratic planning, there are two major nonrevolutionary solutions. George’s was the most straightforward: execute land monopolists and profiteers with a single tax of 100 percent on increases in unimproved land values. The other alternative is not as radical but has been successfully implemented in other advanced capitalist countries: municipalize strategic parts of the land inventory for affordable housing, parks and form-giving greenbelts.

The use of eminent domain for redevelopment, we should recall, was originally intended to transform privately owned slums into publicly owned housing. At the end of the Second World War, when progressives were a majority in city government, Los Angeles adopted truly visionary plans for both public housing and rational suburban growth. What then happened is well known: a municipal counter-revolution engineered by the LA Times. As a result, local governments continued to use eminent domain but mainly to transfer land from small owners to corporations and banks.

Fast-forward to the 1980s. A new opportunity emerged. Downtown redevelopment was devouring hundreds of millions of dollars of diverted taxes, but its future was bleak. A few years before, Reyner Banham had proclaimed that Downtown was dead or at least irrelevant. If the Bradley administration had had the will, it could have municipalized the Spring-Main Street corridor at rock-bottom market prices. Perhaps ten million square feet would have become available for family apartments, immigrant small businesses, public markets, and the like, at permanently controlled affordable rents.

I once asked Kurt Meyer, a corporate architect who had been chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency, about this. He lived up Beachwood Canyon below the Hollywood Sign. We used to meet for breakfast because he enjoyed yarning about power and property in LA, and this made him a unique source for my research at the time. He told me that downtown elites were horrified by the unexpected revitalization of the Broadway corridor by Mexican businesses and shoppers, and the last thing they wanted was a populist downtown.

He also answered a question that long vexed me. “Kurt, why this desperate, all-consuming priority to have the middle class live downtown?” “Mike, do you know anything about leasing space in high-rise buildings?” “Not really.” “Well, the hardest part to rent is the ground floor: to extract the highest value, you need a resident population. You can’t just have office workers going for breakfast and lunch; you need night time, twenty-four hour traffic.” I don’t know whether this was really an adequate explanation but it certainly convinced me that planners and activists need a much deeper understanding of the game.

In the event, the middle class has finally come downtown but only to bring suburbia with them. The hipsters think they’re living in the real thing, but this is purely faux urbanism, a residential mall. Downtown is not the heart of the city, it’s a luxury lifestyle pod for the same people who claim Silverlake is the “Eastside” or that Venice is still bohemian.

Cuff: Why do you call it suburbia?

Davis: Because the return to the center expresses the desire for urban space and crowds without allowing democratic variety or equal access. It’s fool’s gold, and gentrification has taken the place of urban renewal in displacing the poor. Take Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris’s pioneering study of the privatization of space on the top of Bunker Hill. Of course, your museum patron or condo resident feels at home, but if you’re a Salvadorian skateboarder, man, you’re probably headed to Juvenile Hall."



"Jennifer Wolch: Absolutely. However it’s an important question particularly for the humanities students, the issue of subjectivity makes them reticent to make proposals.

Davis: But, they have skills. Narrative is an important part of creating communities. People’s stories are key, especially about their routines. It seems to me that there are important social science skills, but the humanities are important particularly because of stories. I also think a choreographer would be a great analyst of space and kind of an imagineer for using space.

I had a long talk with Richard Louv one day about his Last Child in the Woods, one of the most profound books of our time, a meditation on what it means for kids to lose contact with nature, with free nomadic unorganized play and adventure. A generation of mothers consigned to be fulltime chauffeurs, ferrying kids from one commercial distraction or over-organized play date to another. I grew up in eastern San Diego County, on the very edge of the back country, and once you did your chores (a serious business in those days), you could hop on your bike and set off like Huck Finn. There was a nudist colony in Harbison Canyon about twelve miles away, and we’d take our bikes, push them uphill for hours and hours in the hope of peeking through the fence. Like all my friends, I got a .22 (rifle) when I turned twelve. We did bad things to animals, I must confess, but we were free spirits, hated school, didn’t worry about grades, kept our parents off our backs with part-time jobs and yard work, and relished each crazy adventure and misdemeanor. Since I moved back to San Diego in 2002, I have annual reunions with the five or six guys I’ve known since second grade in 1953. Despite huge differences in political beliefs and religion, we’re still the same old gang.

And gangs were what kept you safe and why mothers didn’t have to worry about play dates or child molesters. I remember even in kindergarten—we lived in the City Heights area of San Diego at that time—we had a gang that walked to school together and played every afternoon. Just this wild group of little boys and girls, seven or eight of us, roaming around, begging pennies to buy gum at the corner store. Today the idea of unsupervised gangs of children or teenagers sounds like a law-and-order problem. But it’s how communities used to work and might still work. Aside from Louv, I warmly recommend The Child in the City by the English anarchist Colin Ward. A chief purpose of architecture, he argues, should be to design environments for unprogrammed fun and discovery."



"Wolch: We have one last question, about your young adult novels. Whenever we assign something from City of Quartz or another of your disheartening pieces about LA, it’s hard not to worry that the students will leave the class and jump off of a cliff! But your young adult novels seem to capture some amount of an alternative hopeful future.

Davis: Gee, you shouldn’t be disheartened by my books on LA. They’re just impassioned polemics on the necessity of the urban left. And my third LA book, Magical Urbanism, literally glows with optimism about the grassroots renaissance going on in our immigrant neighborhoods. But to return to the two adolescent “science adventure” novels I wrote for Viggo Mortensen’s wonderful Perceval Press. Above all they’re expressions of longing for my oldest son after his mother moved him back to her native Ireland. The heroes are three real kids: my son, his step-brother, and the daughter of our best friends when I taught at Stony Brook on Long Island. Her name is Julia Monk, and she’s now a wildlife biologist doing a Ph.D. at Yale on pumas in the Andes. I’m very proud that I made her the warrior-scientist heroine of the novels, because it was an intuition about her character that she’s made real in every way—just a remarkable young person."
mikedavis  2016  interviews  economics  california  sanfrancisco  losangeles  henrygeorge  urbanism  urban  suburbia  suburbs  jenniferolch  danacuff  fauxurbanism  hipsters  downtown  property  ownership  housing  populism  progressive  progressivism  reynerbanham  planning  urbanplanning  citybeautiful  gentrification  cities  homeless  homelessness  michaelrotundi  frankgehry  richardlouv  gangs  sandiego  friendship  colinward  thechildinthecity  architecture  fun  discovery  informal  unprogrammed  freedom  capitalism  china  india  england  ireland  famine  optimism  juliamonk  children  teens  youth  development  realestate  zoning  sanbernardino  sciarc 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Defining 'Gentefication' in Latino Neighborhoods - CityLab
"When young, upwardly mobile Latinos move back to their old neighborhoods, some residents are wary of the changes they bring."
gentrification  gentefication  boyleheights  losangeles  2016  nataliedelgadillo  cities  urban  urbanism  economics 
august 2016 by robertogreco
10 Lessons Learned by Rereading Jane Jacobs – Common Edge
"1. The mythical “ballet of the streets” motif is a tiny portion of the book.

That section, which occurs early on, is electric. It’s like an early John Cheever story. But the rest of Death and Life is a dense, meticulously constructed attack on the city planning orthodoxies of the day. Today it reads as a sort of literary polemic, fused with an urban planning and economics manual for cities. No wonder everybody’s head exploded in 1961.

2. Having said that: Jane’s magic world of Hudson Street feels as distant as Colonial Williamsburg.

It’s a Lost World. Her famous house at 555 Hudson Street sold in 2009 for the “bargain price” of $3.5-million.

3. Jacobs was remarkably prescient on gentrification.

She didn’t invent the term or even use it. But she observed (and I don’t know how, since most cities were in decline at the time) that lively diverse neighborhoods are always at risk for becoming victims of their own success, because newcomers invariably alter the characteristics that made these neighborhoods appealing to them in the first place. Today this seems obvious and self-evident, but that’s largely because of Jane Jacobs.

4. Jacobs won the battle of Ideas, but countervailing forces, including suburbia, won the war on the ground.

The conventional wisdom is that Jacobs ultimately prevailed. But did she really? Locally, she defeated Robert Moses, no doubt, but America sprawled and suburbanized for a half century, pretty much unimpeded, and many of the urban planning ideas that she so soundly debunked have had a Zombie-like resilience. Jacobs created a durable moral compass. Shamefully, it’s a best practices handbook that developers, especially, feel free to cite and then ignore when it suits them.

5. Jacobs-style urbanism (diversity of uses, scales, buildings, people) may be impossible to achieve with current development models.

New urban neighborhoods—even ones that at least attempt to adhere to her principles—often feel cold and sterile. They just can’t replicate the intricate web of relationships that Jacobs celebrated. These develop over time and at multiple scales, even small ones. It’s precisely these smaller scales, in fact, that give our best neighborhoods soul; unfortunately, when you’re building new, the haberdasher and the dry cleaner don’t pencil out economically.

6. Everyone, neighborhood activists and developers alike, cherry picks her ideas.

Many of her ideas were abused, like standard songs that have been covered (far too often) by inferior artists. It’s precisely why developers and activists who constantly evoke her should occasionally re-read her.

7. While the book’s lessons are indeed timeless, the examples she uses to illustrate them are now historic.

Truth be told, the examples—if you’re a native New Yorker of a certain age—border on the nostalgic. (The Italian butcher. The experimental theater. The candy store!) It makes reading the book in 2016 both fascinating and a bit rueful.

8. She was amazingly on-point about the effect of cars on cities.

Her remedy—what she called “car attrition” (making it more difficult for cars to operate in cities, rather than outright banning them)—predates the work of Jan Gehl and ideas like congestion pricing by several decades.

9. Despite what NIMBY-ists would like to believe, Jacobs was not anti big buildings.

She was against large, stand-alone, single-use buildings. Big buildings, surrounded by other structures of different sizes, scales and uses, were perfectly OK (even dreaded sports arenas).

10. Although it’s a fun parlor game for urban geeks, no one really knows which projects Jane Jacobs would have “approved” of.

But here’s a safe bet for what she would have surely opposed: anything that involved the use of eminent domain."
janejacobs  via:jarrettfuller  urban  urbanism  gentrification  2016  cities  martinpedersen  nimbys  nimbyism  development  eminentdomain  cars  transportation  jangehl  congestion  neighborhoods  community  diversity  scale  suburbia 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Art and Complicity: How the Fight Against Gentrification in Boyle Heights Questions the Role of Artists | KCET
"In Boyle Heights, even the air is contested territory. On the northwestern edge, on Mission Road between the 10 Freeway overpass and First Street, El Pato’s briney odor pushes against the inky fumes of a print shop, while a wall of freeway exhaust seals it all in. To the south, the red glow of Vernon and the industrial furnace that is Southeast L.A. burns so bright as to compete with the sunset. Unidentified toxic gasses drift in with the pungent smell of the Farmer John plant. In the sky, the smell of singeing animal meat, a whiff of blood dissolving in water.

On the ground, many Boyle Heights residents have dedicated their lives to this place fighting against a history of racism, gang violence, drug epidemics and poverty. For the last 20 years, residents and community organizations have pushed against the displacement of low-income and working-class families as Los Angeles moves forward with market-driven, revitalization efforts. Recently, they have turned their focus on studios and galleries that seek to carve out L.A.’s newest arts district in Boyle Heights.

Since PSSST, Boyle Heights’ newest gallery, announced its grand opening (originally scheduled for May 13) the conflict between the art space and local grassroots organizations has escalated to dimensions greater than each of the actual entities by bringing to question the direct and indirect complicity of artists and cultural spaces in the displacement of long-seated, working-class communities.

Boyle Heights has witnessed eastbound waves of gentrification that have transformed Echo Park and Highland Park into more affluent and white neighborhoods. The proliferation of artist studios and galleries has come to signal the arrival of additional enterprises that raise property values and cost of rent for businesses and housing tenants, eventually resulting in their displacement.

Newcomers, including artists, have been drawn to Boyle Heights by its rich cultural character -- forged from generations of Mexican, Japanese, Russian and Jewish immigrants relegated to the city’s eastern periphery -- as well as its cheaper rent and property in an increasingly unaffordable city."



"Yet as community talks continue over weeks and months, as positions are clarified and guidelines drafted, the threat of displacement is not diminished, as development projects move forward and the arts district receives attention and accolades from the New York Times and art world insiders. “We are still waiting to see an example of where an arts district didn’t displace a community. The designation of an arts district is a tool of development. We don’t have time for artists to figure out how they feel,” says Rhine.

Despite the community dialogues, Delmira Gonzalez sees little potential for co-existence between art galleries and the longstanding community. “We have 7,000 people here that need housing. And on top of everything, our bridge gets knocked down and we have a homelessness problem. Why do we need to accept them? Why do we need to have compassion for them? The answer is ‘no.’ The answer is 'get out.’”

“People often think that gentrification is inevitable and that we need to negotiate the terms of our defeat. But we don’t. Saying ‘no’ works. By saying ‘no,’ I’ve seen this community get stronger and stronger. What I’ve learned in walking with women is that the impossible has limits,” Rhine says.

Ultra-Red describes this action as “The art of resistance,” a practice that, like traditional and institutional art, has its own set of aesthetic and operational frameworks. One unique characteristic of this anti-gentrification movement in Boyle Heights, as well as in other parts of the city, is the strong involvement of institutionally-trained artists, graduates of prominent art schools who are equipped to use the language of arts but are pushing towards radical practice that breaks down institutional arts, especially as they are tied to a capitalist market.

According to Rhine, the pressure that artists are experiencing from community groups and other artists that support anti-gentrification movements clarifies their role in gentrification. “In trying to establish a fine arts space within the professional sector, it’s next to impossible to start or maintain that space without direct complicity in speculative development. It’s impossible to escape complicity,” Rhine says.

Furthermore, this mounting pressure points to what Rhine and other activist artists believe will be the necessary future of art. “So if an artist is challenged by the communities facing displacement to act in solidarity, then the artist has increasingly no choice but to be complicit fully or to invent a different kind of art. It means changing what art is and it’s not going to be what we learned in school or see in galleries or what is celebrated in art history. It is going to be a new art that is not necessarily going to be recognized as art.”

He adds that while artists experience much anxiety over the uncertain future of what is being demanded of them in this increasingly polarized and tense context, they have much to gain from letting go of their notions of what art is, how it should be made, by whom and what spaces it should be in. “We are in a moment in which artists are grappling with that. Artists have a lot to gain in terms of solidarity, community, meaning, purpose and aesthetic pleasure.”"
2016  losangeles  boyleheights  gentrification  art  artists  carribeanfragoza  echopark  highlandpark  ultra-red 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City - The New York Times
"Integration was transformative for my husband and me. Yet the idea of placing our daughter in one of the small number of integrated schools troubled me. These schools are disproportionately white and serve the middle and upper middle classes, with a smattering of poor black and Latino students to create “diversity.”

In a city where white children are only 15 percent of the more than one million public-school students, half of them are clustered in just 11 percent of the schools, which not coincidentally include many of the city’s top performers. Part of what makes those schools desirable to white parents, aside from the academics, is that they have some students of color, but not too many. This carefully curated integration, the kind that allows many white parents to boast that their children’s public schools look like the United Nations, comes at a steep cost for the rest of the city’s black and Latino children."



"It was hard not to be skeptical about the department’s plan. New York, like many deeply segregated cities, has a terrible track record of maintaining racial balance in formerly underenrolled segregated schools once white families come in. Schools like P.S. 321 in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood and the Academy of Arts and Letters in Fort Greene tend to go through a brief period of transitional integration, in which significant numbers of white students enroll, and then the numbers of Latino and black students dwindle. In fact, that’s exactly what happened at P.S. 8.

A decade ago, P.S. 8 was P.S. 307’s mirror image. Predominantly filled with low-income black and Latino students from surrounding neighborhoods, P.S. 8, with its low test scores and low enrollment, languished amid a community of affluence because white parents in the neighborhood refused to send their children there. A group of parents worked hard with school administrators to turn the school around, writing grants to start programs for art and other enrichment activities. Then more white and Asian parents started to enroll their children. One of them was David Goldsmith, who later became president of the community education council tasked with considering the rezoning of P.S. 8 and P.S. 307. Goldsmith is white and, at the time, lived in Vinegar Hill with his Filipino wife and their daughter.

As P.S. 8 improved, more and more white families from Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo and Vinegar Hill enrolled their children, and the classrooms in the lower grades became majority white. The whitening of the school had unintended consequences. Some of the black and Latino parents whose children had been in the school from the beginning felt as if they were being marginalized. The white parents were able to raise large sums at fund-raisers and could be dismissive of the much smaller fund-raising efforts that had come before. Then, Goldsmith says, the new parents started seeking to separate their children from their poorer classmates. “There were kids in the school that were really high-risk kids, kids who were homeless, living in temporary shelters, you know, poverty can be really brutal,” Goldsmith says. “The school was really committed to helping all children, but we had white middle-class parents saying, ‘I don’t want my child in the same class with the kid who has emotional issues.’ ”

The parents who had helped build P.S. 8, black, Latino, white and Asian, feared they were losing something important, a truly diverse school that nurtured its neediest students, where families held equal value no matter the size of their paychecks. They asked for a plan to help the school maintain its black and Latino population by setting aside a percentage of seats for low-income children, but they didn’t get approval.

P.S. 8’s transformation to a school where only one in four students are black or Latino and only 14 percent are low-income began during the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, known for its indifference toward efforts to integrate schools. But integration advocates say that they’ve also been deeply disappointed by the de Blasio administration’s stance on the issue. In October 2014, after the release of the U.C.L.A. study pointing to the extreme segregation in the city’s schools, and nearly a year after de Blasio was elected, Councilmen Ritchie Torres and Brad Lander moved to force the administration to address segregation, introducing what became the School Diversity Accountability Act, which would require the Department of Education to release school-segregation figures and report what it was doing to alleviate the problem. “It was always right in front of our faces,” says Lander, a representative from Brooklyn, whose own children attend heavily white public schools. “Then the U.C.L.A. report hit, and the segregation in the city became urgent.”"
education  nyc  race  racism  us  brooklyn  segregation  desegregation  resegregation  schools  publicschools  policy  power  diversity  parenting  children  gentrification  nikolehannah-jones 
july 2016 by robertogreco
How These Wooden Fences Became A Symbol Of Gentrification Across Los Angeles: LAist
[via: http://www.curbed.com/2016/6/29/12009800/oakland-flip-leaning-house ]

"It's not clear where or when this wooden slat revival started exactly, but it was roughly a decade or so ago and has been creeping through Los Angeles like kudzu ever since. In decades to come, it'll be a signifier for the exhaustive pace at which the city has changed in the past 5 to 10 years—for better or worse. And even though it can be spotted throughout the greater L.A. area or other markets entirely, architectural designer Marc Cucco finds the slat to be "specific to Eastside L.A. There's a variation in other 'hot' markets, like Austin or Denver. But the speed at which prices surged in northeast Los Angeles, as compared to the rest of the country, means that the aesthetic look is the result of a 'process' designed to provide quick curb appeal to properties which have been thinly, and cosmetically, updated."

Over the past decade we have a dominant theme in American cities: neck-snapping rates of (depending on your ideological slant) development/gentrification/transition as many parts of our cities have become desirable again. In so many ways, L.A. looks very different than it did a decade ago, and the wooden slat fence—a.k.a. the hipster fence or the flipper fence—will be the defining architectural symbol of an L.A. and the desire to own one in this period.

The slat fence is not some anomaly but instead a logical extension of the 21st century middle-upper class obsession with mid-century modern aesthetics and case studies, extending from inside the home with Eames chairs and Noguchi tables spilling into our yards. The main reason the slat has become so dominant is that wooden fences—a relatively affordable addition—might be the most direct and cost effective way to attract prospective home buyers who want a want a touch of design without breaking the bank. But maybe it's not just a cheap trick for looks. Having any sort of fenced in front yard in modern homes might be a holdover from the '80s and '90s violence in L.A., a way to barricade oneself from "super-predators" or whatever shitty euphemisms that are creeping back into the lexicon. The wooden slat fence splits the difference between barred windows and no barrier at all between the house and its exterior. Through its semi-privacy and vague nod to affluence, the slat becomes the most direct symbol of transition.

Architectural designer Dave Bantz has lived in L.A. for the past decade, and finds the slat fence to be "most prevalent in neighborhoods where an owner or potential buyer senses some kind of right of crime or burglary in the neighborhood, or their lot is small enough to where they need a defensible and contained space to play with children and pets." He adds, "I think we see this fence in transitioning neighborhoods because it can be built cheaply and quickly and it exudes a modern appeal that signals that the home itself may also be updated." So, in that respect, the slat is a wordless billboard with the subtext, "this neighborhood has potential. But it's still a place where you're going to want a sense of protection from the street."

Before the slats came in, northeast Los Angeles was and still is also heavy on stone and wrought iron front fencing, prevalent in Latino neighborhoods in particular. "My Guatemalan neighbor actually told me that he and many of his older friends in the neighborhood consider a metal wrought iron fence to signify wealth, quality, durability much more than a wood fence," Bantz explains. "My neighbor asked my why I wasn't building a metal fence with masonry posts like the rest of the home in the neighborhood and I told him that it was a matter of style and preference (and cost)."

To be fair to the slats, it's not just fences. There's a whole flipper design element starter set: a fresh gray paint job, san serif minimalist address numbers, or a Nightmare on Elm Street blood-red door. You can pick and choose or get the combo. Either way, if you see any of these telltale symbols, odds are the house has recently changed hands or will be soon. And there's a high chance that if you go inside, you'll see subway tile, exposed bulb fixtures, or a farmhouse sink in the kitchen. And in the backyard, there's at pretty good chance you'll find a gas fire pit.

These flipper design elements are increasingly common but also so commonly just slapped on. It's like a magic trick—in order for it to work, the quality of execution has to be high. Even though the real estate market in these flipping neighborhoods is in many ways bonkers. Bantz explains, "Buyers of these flips are not stupid. They know the difference between a well-maintained original craftsman, a new construction stucco flip, and a renovated modern bungalow... and the real estate agents and pricing shows this clearly. Many people buy a flip knowing full well that they will have to invest in replacing or fixing much of the work that was done by the flipper."

It's difficult to speak on the subjects surrounding the these architectural accoutrements without acknowledging the housing crisis L.A. is buckling under. The oversimplification of the problem is that there isn't enough affordable housing to meet the demand. There isn't enough rentable property at a given moment, and it's become too difficult to build in California, zoning-wise.

The politics and prevalence of the slat run parallel to the history of mutli-family versus single-family units and the battle over L.A.'s density. From the Dingbat to the craftsman to the Orsini, how we break down living is inherently politicized and tells the story of how living in L.A. is changing in a physical sense. The slat can be a visual correlative of a neighborhood's demographic shift, and that change curves towards the more professional and wealthier, higher educated, and whiter.

But slats—as a design element, at least—are not inherently bad. Like anything in our copycat culture, a good idea can easily replicate into oblivion through mis- or over-use. Joe Tarr—architectural designer and Angeleno of eight years—admits it's not the slats' fault. It's how people use them. "I don't think these [wooden slats] are necessarily 'bad' design elements," he says. "Just that they are often over-used and applied in a formulaic way that doesn't pay attention to the specifics of the house or the combination of elements as an overall composition." So it's not concept but execution. The same complaint might be levied at paint-by-numbers xeriscaped front yards or a standard grass lawn with no barrier structure or landscaping choices.

Could slats be the L.A.'s new glass bricks and stick around for decades upon decades? Architectural designer Melanie Freeland doesn't think so. "I don't think the flipper fence is a material that will last as long as glass brick," she explains. "I would say plywood cabinetry, or reclaimed wood is this generation's material of choice. That or white subway tile."

Every trend cycle has its inflection point. Sadly, even the slat fences seem like like they might be on the way out, as even cheaper solutions—like corrugated metal—have been creeping up in style, especially in northeast Los Angeles. But if we've learned anything about our cannibalistic design culture, it's that nothing ever really dies. Especially if it's associated with mid-century aesthetics."
fences  gentrification  losangeles  sandiego  california  oakland  jonnycoleman  2016  modernism  davebantz  housing 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Third L.A. with Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne | KCET
"Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne partners with Artbound for an episode that looks into the future of Los Angeles. "Third L.A. with Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne" examines the city's architecture, urban planning, transportation and changing demographics, giving us a glimpse of Los Angeles as a model of urban reinvention for the nation and the world."

[See also:

"Is Los Angeles a Horizontal City?"
https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/tall-buildings-los-angeles-vertical-construction

"Is Los Angeles a City of Houses?"
https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/los-angeles-architecture-history-multi-family-housing

"Is Los Angeles a City of Immigrants?"
https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/demographics-of-los-angeles-immigrantion

"Is Los Angeles a Private City?"
https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/privacy-segregation-in-los-angeles

"What is the Third Los Angeles?"
https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/christopher-hawthorne-critic-third-la-los-angeles ]
christopherhawthorne  carolinamiranda  losangeles  urbanplanning  2016  architecture  urban  urbanism  transportation  demographics  barbarabestor  michaelmaltzan  michaelwoo  history  future  density  cities  development  gentrification 
june 2016 by robertogreco
being an artist and parent in a city of riches? w/Tim Devin by a-small-lab
"Part of a series of 'art' conversations for summer art, not-school 2016 in and around Mairangi Bay Arts Centre - small-workshop.info/sans2016/

Tim Devin (www.timdevin.com/) is a Boston-based artist, librarian, parent and more. His work supports the need for information and feeling connected that are essential for people having a say in their communities and the world at large. This discussion starts from three points coming out of his project "How to be an Artist and a Parent?" - how to be a "good parent" and also do the other stuff you need to do, the question of what happens to a community life pressures slowly hinder people from being creative, and the fact that both Boston and Auckland are going through huge transformations right now.

Provided in collaboration with Mairangi Arts Centre, with support of Creative Communities Scheme"

[Shared on Twitter: "Listening…"
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/686288610660757504

"making some connections to friendships, community, and housing https://tinyletter.com/metafoundry/letters/metafoundry-54-nominative-determinism … + http://www.vox.com/2015/10/28/9622920/housing-adult-friendship … + http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/how-friendships-change-over-time-in-adulthood/411466/ "
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/686288881134649344 ]
parenting  art  chrisberthelsen  2016  timdevin  community  cities  neighborhoods  somerville  japan  newzealand  realestate  slow  local  politics  housing  zoning  urban  urbanism  activism  friendship  age  aging  education  unschooling  deschooling  aukland  labor  work  gentrification  development  children  creativity  cognitivesurpluss  lcproject  openstudioproject  small  rents  inequality  economics 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Idiosyncratic Whisk: Housing, A Series: Part 77 - Housing is defining politics and the repercussions are dreadful
"Take immigration. As I have been pointing out, in the open access part of the country, we live in a classical economics world. If a city has opportunities, it leads to population inflows which cause incomes to moderate back toward equilibrium with the rest of the country. Housing supply pretty efficiently rises in these cities to increase housing without skyrocketing costs (unless there are extreme temporary fluctuations such as in the North Dakota oil fields). In closed access cities, opportunity leads to a bidding war for housing, so that incomes can remain elevated, but costs become elevated also.

The differences between these two types of cities are stark. You can tell what type of city it is just by looking through the newspaper. In open access cities, people complain that poor people are moving in and taking away jobs, pushing down wages. In closed access cities, people complain that rich people are moving in and bidding up rents.

People in red states have been taking in an inordinate amount of low income migration, both domestic and international. But, poor people are fleeing the closed access cities. So, to someone living in a closed access city, it seems racist for people to focus their ire on Mexican immigrants. Poor people are struggling just to get by as it is.

Los Angeles has a foot in both worlds. It takes in a lot of Hispanic and low income workers, but it also has sharp housing constraints, so it has high cost and moderate incomes. There tend to be anti-immigrant sentiments in southern California. Meanwhile, San Franciscans proudly proclaim that they are a sanctuary city. In Los Angeles, 44% of households speak Spanish as a first language, compared to 40% who speak English. In San Francisco, only 15% of the population is Hispanic. It's easy to be a sanctuary when you've made your city so costly that even middle class professionals can't afford to live there any more.

There has been a noticeable shift in immigration stances since the days of Reagan and the elder Bush. How much of that shift has come from the economic stresses and migration flows caused by the closed access cities? The open access areas are taking the bulk of the low income immigrants, and in addition the worst limited access cities attract high income immigrants, leading to net domestic migrations of 10% of their populations per decade, or more.

These different experiences, which are the result of different local policies, affect many political sentiments. Think of the different reactions to poverty. Red state voters seem indifferent to the problem of poverty and inequality. But, because their local policies are open access, most of them don't experience an unusual level of inequality or poverty. Locals with high income potentials move away to the closed access cities to capture the high incomes that closed access creates, so those areas lose some of the top-end of their income distribution, and their open access policies don't lead to extreme gains in gross incomes for those who stay. Meanwhile, they see poor households moving in because their cities represent opportunity.

On the other hand, people living in closed access cities see family after family failing to make ends meet. It seems to demonstrate a lack of information when someone like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren complains that Americans are working harder and harder to take home less and less. Statistically, it is clearly the opposite. Households have fewer earners, typically working fewer hours, and earning more. But, that is really an open access phenomenon. The ever speeding treadmill really is the experience of voters in closed access cities. This is something I intend to post about soon. Much of the rise in aggregate US income inequality is due to rising gross incomes in places like San Francisco. But, once rent expenses are factored in, median households in those cities are actually losing ground. Much of the measured increase in income inequality is a mirage created by using household specific income figures but using nationally averaged cost of living adjustments. To someone in Silicon Valley, it really does seem like an $80,000 household income is unsustainable."

[via: http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/6287.html ]
housing  economics  kevinerdmann  sanfrancisco  losangeles  siliconvalley  2015  poverty  gentrification  costofliving  immigration  migration  us  cities  population 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Thriving World, the Wilting World, and You — Medium
"We are a community branded as leaders living through this revolutionary moment, living through this extreme winning and extreme losing. It falls on us to ask the tough questions about it.

But we here in Aspen are in a bit of a tight spot.

Our deliberations about what to do about this extreme winning and losing are sponsored by the extreme winners. This community was formed by stalwarts of American capitalism; today we sit in spaces named after Pepsi (as in the beverage) and Koch (as in the brothers); our discussion of Martin Luther King and Omelas is sponsored by folks like Accenture, David Rubenstein and someone named Pom; we are deeply enmeshed and invested in the establishment and systems we are supposed to question. And yet we are a community of leaders that claims to seek justice. These identities are tricky to reconcile.

Today I want to challenge how we reconcile them. There is no consensus on anything here, as any seminar participant knows. But I believe that many of our discussions operate within what I will call the “Aspen Consensus,” which, like the “Washington Consensus” or “Beijing Consensus,” describes a nest of shared assumptions within which diverse ideas hatch. The “Aspen Consensus” demarcates what we mostly agree not to question, even as we question so much. And though I call it the Aspen Consensus, it is in many ways the prevailing ethic among the winners of our age worldwide, across business, government and even nonprofits.

The Aspen Consensus, in a nutshell, is this: the winners of our age must be challenged to do more good. But never, ever tell them to do less harm.

The Aspen Consensus holds that capitalism’s rough edges must be sanded and its surplus fruit shared, but the underlying system must never be questioned.

The Aspen Consensus says, “Give back,” which is of course a compassionate and noble thing. But, amid the $20 million second homes and $4,000 parkas of Aspen, it is gauche to observe that giving back is also a Band-Aid that winners stick onto the system that has privileged them, in the conscious or subconscious hope that it will forestall major surgery to that system — surgery that might threaten their privileges.

The Aspen Consensus, I believe, tries to market the idea of generosity as a substitute for the idea of justice. It says: make money in all the usual ways, and then give some back through a foundation, or factor in social impact, or add a second or third bottom line to your analysis, or give a left sock to the poor for every right sock you sell.

The Aspen Consensus says, “Do more good” — not “Do less harm.”

I want to sow the seed of a difficult conversation today about this Aspen Consensus. Because I love this community, and I fear for all of us — myself very much included — that we may not be as virtuous as we think we are, that history may not be as kind to us as we hope it will, that in the final analysis our role in the inequities of our age may not be remembered well.

This may sound strange at first, because the winners of our disruptive age are arguably as concerned about the plight of the losers as any elite in human history. But the question I’m raising is about what the winners propose to do in response. And I believe the winners’ response, certainly not always but still too often, is to soften the blows of the system but to preserve the system at any cost. This response is problematic. It keeps the winners too safe. It allows far too many of us to evade hard questions about our role in contributing to the disease we also seek to treat."



"Now, a significant minority of us here don’t work in business. Yet even in other sectors, we’re living in an age in which the assumptions and values of business are more influential than they ought to be. Our culture has turned businessmen and -women into philosophers, revolutionaries, social activists, saviors of the poor. We are at risk of forgetting other languages of human progress: of morality, of democracy, of solidarity, of decency, of justice.

Sometimes we succumb to the seductive Davos dogma that the business approach is the only thing that can change the world, in the face of so much historical evidence to the contrary.

And so when the winners of our age answer the problem of inequality and injustice, all too often they answer it within the logic and frameworks of business and markets. We talk a lot about giving back, profit-sharing, win-wins, social-impact investing, triple bottom lines (which, by the way, are something my four-month-old son has).

Sometimes I wonder whether these various forms of giving back have become to our era what the papal indulgence was to the Middle Ages: a relatively inexpensive way of getting oneself seemingly on the right of justice, without having to alter the fundamentals of one’s life.

Because when you give back, when you have a side foundation, a side CSR project, a side social-impact fund, you gain an exemption from more rigorous scrutiny. You helped 100 poor kids in the ghetto learn how to code. The indulgence spares you from questions about the larger systems and structures you sustain that benefit you and punish others: weak banking regulations and labor laws, zoning rules that happen to keep the poor far from your neighborhood, porous safety nets, the enduring and unrepaired legacies of slavery and racial supremacy and caste systems.

These systems and structures have victims, and we here are at risk, I think, of confusing generosity toward those victims with justice for those victims. For generosity is a win-win, but justice often is not. The winners of our age don’t enjoy the idea that some of them might actually have to lose, to sacrifice, for justice to be done. In Aspen you don’t hear a lot of ideas involving the privileged and powerful actually being in the wrong, and needing to surrender their status and position for the sake of justice.

We talk a lot here about giving more. We don’t talk about taking less.

We talk a lot here about what we should be doing more of. We don’t talk about what we should be doing less of.

I think sometimes that our Aspen Consensus has an underdeveloped sense of human darkness. There is risk in too much positivity. Sometimes to do right by people, you must begin by naming who is in the wrong.

So let’s just come out and say the thing you’re never supposed to say in Aspen: that many of the winners of our age are active, vigorous contributors to the problems they bravely seek to solve. And for the greater good to prevail on any number of issues, some people will have to lose — to actually do less harm, and not merely more good.

We know that enlightened capital didn’t get rid of the slave trade. Impact investing didn’t abolish child labor and put fire escapes on tenement factories. Drug makers didn’t stop slipping antifreeze into medicine as part of a CSR initiative. In each of these cases, the interests of the many had to defeat the interests of the recalcitrant few.

Look, I know this speech won’t make me popular at the bar tonight. But this, for me, is an act of stepping into the arena — something our wonderful teacher-moderators challenged us to do.

I know many of you agree with me already, because we have bonded for years over a shared feeling that something in this extraordinary community didn’t feel quite right. There are many others who, instead of criticizing as I do, are living rejections of this Aspen Consensus — quitting lucrative lives, risking everything, to fight the system. You awe me: you who battle for gay rights in India, who live ardently among the rural poor in South Africa, who risk assassination or worse to report news of corruption.

I am not speaking to you tonight, and I know there are many of you. I am speaking to those who, like me, may feel caught between the ideals championed by this Institute and the self-protective instinct that is always the reflex of people with much to lose.

I am as guilty as anyone. I am part of the wave of gentrification and displacement in Brooklyn, one of the most rapidly gentrifying places in America. Any success I’ve had can be traced to my excellent choice in parents and their ability to afford incredibly expensive private schools. I like good wine. I use Uber — a lot. I once stole playing cards from a private plane. I want my new son to have everything I can give him, even though I know that this is the beginning of the inequality I loathe.

I often wonder if what I do — writing — is capable of making any difference.

When I entered this fellowship, I was so taken with that summons to make a difference. But, to be honest, I have also always had a complicated relationship to this place.

I have heard too many of us talking of how only after the IPO or the next few million will we feel our kids have security. These inflated notions of what it takes to “make a living” and “support a family” are the beginning of so much neglect of our larger human family.

I walk into too many rooms named for people and companies that don’t mean well for the world, and then in those rooms we talk and talk about making the world better.

I struggled in particular with the project. I couldn’t figure out what bothered me about it for the longest time. I wasn’t very good at coming up with one or getting it done.

And I realized, through conversation with fellows in similar dilemmas, what my problem was. Many people, including some being featured later tonight, are engaged in truly extraordinary and commendable projects. We are at our best when our projects take the system head on. But I wrestled with what I perceived to be the idea behind the project, of creating generous side endeavors rather than fighting to reform, bite by bite, the hands that feed us. I felt the project distracted us from the real question: is your regular life — not your side project — on the right side … [more]
anandgiridharadas  capitalism  change  cooperation  aspeninstitute  philanthropy  climatechange  inequality  virtue  competition  inequity  elitism  power  systemschange  privilege  finance  wealth  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  wealthdistribution  davos  riggedgames  goldmansachs  indulgence  handwashing  via:tealtan  risk  stackeddecks  labor  employment  disruption  work  civics  commongood  abstraction  business  corporatism  corporations  taxes  government  socialgood  virtualization  economics  politics  policy  speculation  democracy  solidarity  socialjustice  neoliberalism  well-being  decency  egalitarianism  community  indulgences  noblesseoblige  absolution  racism  castes  leadership  generosity  sacrifice  gambling  gender  race  sexism  emotionallabor  positivity  slavery  socialsafetnet  winwin  zerosum  gentrification  stewardship  paradigmshifts  charitableindustrialcomplex  control 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Berlin Is the ‘Post-Tourist’ Capital of Europe -- Next
"Irritating as this may be, this blurring between the local and non-local is likely to continue shaping the future of Berlin – and the future of tourism itself. Johannes Novy, an urbanist at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, one of the country's top technical universities, argues that Berlin has become a test case for what some academics and journalists are calling post-tourism. “Many of the tourists we see here don’t fit the conventional image we have of tourists in Rome or Paris,” he says.

Novy has reservations about the term, but here's the idea: “Post-tourists” tend to avoid staying in hotels, they aren’t as interested in major tourist attractions, they combine work with travel, they’re looking for unconventional experiences, and they prefer to hang out in residential neighborhoods. Because Berlin is cheap, fun, and accessible, it's attracted an unusually high number of these types of visitors, who can spend months here before moving on."



"In many ways, the debate about post-tourism in Berlin echoes the one about gentrification everywhere else. In both cases, formerly sleepy neighborhoods become more upscale and exciting, while long-term residents and businesses are forced out and replaced with laptop-filled coffee shops. But in Berlin it also taps into a host of other resentments — about American entitlement, about being required to speak English, about a calm neighborhood being hijacked for the sake of someone else’s cliché idea of Berlin hedonism. “Berlin is the kind of place where people go if they want somewhere that is messy and complicated in ways that aren’t messy and complicated,” says Jason Clampet, the co-founder of Skift, a travel news site. “You can go to the orgy, but on the way home people will still wait for the light to change.”"



"According to Novy, the notion of “post-tourism” doesn’t represent a change in the way we travel so much as a change in the way we think about travel – and it primarily shows the extent to which technology and heightened mobility have helped obliterate categories like “work” and “vacation,” “local” and “visitor.” “The idea of this new tourism puts into question a lot of fundamental things about the kinds of lives people live these days,” he says. “We are in a world of endless mobility, and so we are all tourists all of the time.” Although many of these post-tourists come to Berlin looking for an “authentic” Berlin experience, that experience may never have existed in the first place, outside of their imagination."
post-tourism  tourism  berlin  travel  2015  cities  gentrification  messiness  johannesnovy  mobility 
march 2015 by robertogreco
On Becoming a Historic Resident of Oakland | Boom: A Journal of California
"And there my research came full circle. I had found most of what I was looking for when I started this project. I had found many of the documents and the maps, the names and dates, and some of the personal and family stories that comprise the history of human habitation—at least for the last few centuries—of the place where I now live.

I found in that history the pattern that I expected. One group pushes out another group, often aided by forces much larger than themselves: a royal army, a Gold Rush, an earthquake, racism, the law, or the gears of capitalism turning. Those gears grind some people to dust. Others manage to harness their power to make fortunes large and small. Whether a person ends up as the machine’s operator or its input is often not determined by anything resembling merit or even by individual decisions, however much we might like to pretend otherwise.

I could conclude that this is the way of all the earth. It’s tempting, really, to see myself as simply a mote swept along in a wave of change. Displacement isn’t my fault. I’m just a particle man, “doing the things a particle can.” When I started this project, part of me was looking for that kind of absolution.

I didn’t find it, and I realized eventually that I was foolish to have ever gone looking. Instead, I found a growing discomfort with the pattern of our history. I found a deeper connection with this place and with the people who had been here before. I found more empathy for those who had wound up on the losing side of the changes that have swept through this place time and again, including the changes happening now, of which I am a part, not just a particle.

I still think “historic residents” is the wrong way to talk about this very real problem. We can’t and shouldn’t pin a neighborhood or a city to a particular historical period. Even if the buildings stay in place, people don’t. The sense of who constitutes the historic residents of a neighborhood can change in a few decades; an individual’s name—George Parsons, Maud Turner, Brock Winstead—can disappear even faster.

I don’t want to dismiss the possibility of righting the wrongs of the past. But when my neighborhood has a shouting match or, perhaps more productively, when we talk about housing and development policy in the city, the region, or the state, we’re talking about addressing the problems of the present. Knowing that this cycle repeats through history doesn’t absolve us from building cities that are inclusive and accessible to as many people as possible, not because they’re “historic residents,” but because they’re people. Our responsibility is not just to the residents here now, who suffer when change displaces them, but also to those of the future, here and elsewhere.

It’s likely too late for my neighborhood’s historic residents. Barring a seismic or economic cataclysm, the gentrification of Golden Gate will continue until the neighborhood is remade. I walk out of my front door every day and push that process forward one more step. When the hammer comes down again—and we know it will—how do we protect those most likely to get squashed? Learning the history of this place did not lead me to an answer, but it taught me that we must find one, because the question will be posed again, here and all around us, as long as California continues to change."
oakland  california  gentrification  2015  history  property  brockwinstead  maps  mapping 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Only 2 Ways to Fight Gentrification (you’re not going to like one of them)
"When considering gentrification, we must accept the fact that rich people don’t just vaporize by prohibiting the creation of housing for them. If housing desires cannot be met in upscale neighborhoods, the wealthy can and will outbid less affluent people elsewhere. With that in mind, there are only 2 solutions to stem the tide of gentrification. The first solution is widespread liberalization of zoning. This is particularly needed in already desirable locations where incumbent residents have effectively depopulated their neighborhoods over several decades. The only other solution is to eradicate rich people altogether. This, I hope, is not what people have in mind when they declare class war."
gentrification  zoning  urban  urbanism  2015  housing  economics  class  urbanplanning  development 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Detroit's young gentrifiers face a daunting task in buying $500 homes: evicting poor residents | Money | The Guardian
"Over 100,000 Detroiters are at risk of losing their homes as the city sells off its stock of tax foreclosures. Young gentrifiers are buying the properties -- but some are queasy about it"
detroit  gentrification  foreclosures  displacement  eviction  2014  housing 
december 2014 by robertogreco
York & Fig | Marketplace.org
"York Boulevard & Figueroa Street is a most interesting intersection.

It’s the crossroads of a large neighborhood (pop. 60,000) called Highland Park in northeast Los Angeles. Here, at any given time of day, all of your senses are treated to both the cultural traditions of this historical community and the many ways this neighborhood is rapidly changing. One of the latest changes you can find at York & Fig is a storefront – one that doesn’t sell anything, but rather invites residents and passersby in to share their stories about Highland Park. The space belongs to Marketplace, a national public radio program based in Los Angeles. Marketplace’s four-person Wealth & Poverty team of reporters and producers occupies this community bureau and we’re here on a mission: to examine how an area changes when wealth moves in — a process commonly referred to as gentrification – and identify the forces driving that change.

Why?

Well, the answer to that can be found in the personal budgets of most Americans. The cost of housing is steadily increasing across the country. We pay roughly 58 percent more on housing today than we did in 2000. On average, those leasing homes spend about 43 percent of their income on rent. This major line item doesn’t just affect low-income people, it affects middle and upper-income earners too. It affects all of us.

Why Highland Park?

The 90042 zip code is where, according to RealtyTrac, home values have soared about 200 percent from March 2000 to 2014. Last year, Redfin declared Highland Park the hottest “up and coming” neighborhood in the country. Rents are also rising, and the demographic makeup of this majority Latino neighborhood is undeniably shifting. We want to know how local families are dealing. Are they skimping on other necessities, like fuel and food? Are they being displaced, moving to more affordable neighborhoods? And how are urban landscapes changing as populations swell in cities like Los Angeles, New York, DC and San Francisco?

The G-Word

People feel really strongly about the word gentrification. We know it’s a loaded one. That’s because at the heart of the idea, it’s about bringing big and small changes to the places we call home. Some think it’s good, freely using positive phrases like “urban renewal” and “neighborhood improvement.” Others lament displacing residents who’ve weathered years of disinvestment and the loss of cultural and community traditions that can occur when new dwellers arrive. Our team is paying rent through the fall at an intersection where we hope to learn more about what we all mean when we talk about gentrification. And we’re documenting this project all along the way. We’ll use our bureau to work, conduct interviews and have conversations about the nuances of gentrification with people who are experiencing this kind of community transformation. Inside, there’s an office and a booth where we’ll record stories from residents. And we’ll host events relating to development, transportation, art, storytelling and more.

A place for neighborhood stories

We’re a radio show. We want your stories and your input on this project of ours. If you’re in LA, come by and say hello. We’re at 6187 N. Figueroa Street with hours Monday through Friday, 10 am – 6 pm and some Saturdays by appointment, too.

If you’re not in LA, no worries. You can still be a part of our storytelling. Email us day or night at wpdesk@marketplace.org and we’re on Twitter and Instagram @MPWealthPoverty. Submit your ideas and images to us with the hashtag #gentrificationis and finish the following phrase to join the conversation: “You know your neighborhood is gentrifying when _______.”"
losangeles  highlandpark  2014  gentrification  economics  housing  wealth  development  realestate  neighborhoods  change 
december 2014 by robertogreco
10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline | The Marshall Project
"Over the course of the 1990s, crime rates dropped, on average, by more than one-third. It was a historic anomaly; one that scholar Frank Zimring dubbed “the great American crime decline.” No one was sure how long the trend would last. Then, in 2010, the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced that the homicide rate had reached a four-decade low. (Since then, overall crime rates have remained relatively flat.)While everyone agrees this is fantastic news, no one, least of all researchers and experts, can agree on exactly why it happened. Below are 10 popular theories for the decline, from abortion to lead to technology to the broken windows theory, with unvarnished views from three leading researchers—Zimring; Richard Rosenfeld, chairman of a National Academy of Sciences roundtable on crime trends; and John Roman of The Urban Institute—on which are the most plausible.

The “abortion filter” […]

The happy pill thesis […]

The lead hypothesis […]

Aging boomers […]

The tech thesis […]

Crack is whack […]

The roaring ’90s (and Obama-mania) […]

The prison boom […]

Police on the beat […]

Immigration and Gentrification […]"
crime  theories  theory  marshallproject  abortion  lead  prozac  ritalin  behavior  moods  babyboomers  population  demographics  technology  airconditioning  television  tv  cars  debitcards  currency  transactions  crack  drugs  economics  unemployment  greatrecession  recession  prison  incarceration  police  lawenforcement  gentrification  immigration  boomers 
november 2014 by robertogreco
THE CHAGALL POSITION: Tidy Words & the End of the World: LeRoi Jones Reads a New Yorker Poem
"Baraka nails the essential quality of the New Yorker poem in a compact formulation: a carefully put-together exercise published as high poetic art. And when it comes to literary standards nothing has changed in the half century plus since the poet shed tears over that alienating poem – New Yorker still puts a premium on carefully put-together exercises that it publishes as high poetic art. This is just as true of the magazine’s fiction, which represents the “quality” apogee of the MFA cookie-cutter “epiphany story.” Wrapped up in tidy packages of psychological realism, these stories reflect the spurious “humanism” of the liberal professional-managerial class that is really a form of fatuous, self-congratulatory narcissism and an apologetics for a racist, imperialist, and exploitative status quo. Such work is “well-crafted,” meticulous, careful, “clean,” and absolutely risk free – the literary equivalent of a gentrified neighborhood. It’s a neighborhood (Baraka even calls it, perceptively, a “place”) where people like the aspiring Black writer are not welcome, where they are the excluded Other.

In the yearning for social mobility that painfully inflects his response, the young poet of the autobiography implicitly realizes how this “high poetic art” functions as a marker of status, what Pierre Bourdieu calls “distinction.” New Yorker verse and fiction are indeed high-end consumer commodities, of a piece with the tailored clothes, pricey jewelry, and haute cuisine dining spots that share its pages. It’s a cultural “address”, but – as commentators such as Sharon Zukin and David Harvey have shown – one that is eminently available to be cross-mapped onto real space, in urban neighborhoods across the US and around the globe.


One way that this type of “cultural address” manifests itself in the contemporary urban arena is the phenomenon of “cultural districts,” specially designated clusters of arts and humanities venues which then become the focus of public-private investment partnerships. There are many such districts in Massachusetts already, including two here in Boston, the Fenway Cultural District and the new Boston Literary District. According to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the state body that awards such designations, the ultimate goal of cultural districts is “enhancing property values and making communities more attractive” – i.e., gentrification."



"Social exclusion and symbolic violence inflict real damage and pain, the pain of marginality, invisibility, and muteness – cultural apartheid. It is precisely the type of pain that Amiri Baraka’s younger self experienced while reading that New Yorker poem. The passage from Baraka’s autobiography struck me because I encountered it at the very time I was writing about the Boston Book Festival’s failure, for the fifth year in a row, to select a local African American or Latina/o author for their flagship “One City One Story” program. One of the “Executive Partners” in organizing the Boston Literary District, the BBF states that this citywide “Big Read” event is supposed to promote literacy and “create a community around a shared reading experience.” Yet what kind of community are they creating? Boston is at least 42% Black and Latina/o, but in the 5 years of One City One Story’s existence they’ve chosen 4 white authors and 1 Asian-American author. The stories themselves, moreover, are very much of the same “carefully constructed exercises” (white and uptight) that continue to be published “as high poetic art” in the New Yorker.

I wonder how many minority youth in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan were assigned the book festival’s 2014 offering, Jennifer Haigh’s “Sublimation,” in their high school English classes. No doubt they were exhorted that they were participating in civic life, and that the story’s values and outlook were somehow “universal” and relevant to their own experience. And no doubt that many of them felt the same confusion and shame and anger that LeRoi Jones felt reading that New Yorker poem in San Juan over a half century ago.

I hope none of them shed tears over it, though – the story wasn’t worth it."

[via: http://botpoet.tumblr.com/post/103457338970/wrapped-up-in-tidy-packages-of-psychological ]
amiribaraka  leroijones  newyorker  mfa  writing  realism  narcissism  racism  imperialism  statusquo  gentrification  literature  edmondcaldwell  socialmobility  commodities  consumerism  mainstream  elitism  culture  sharonzukin  davidharvey  arts  art  humanities  marginality  invisibility  muteness  culturalapartheid  race  homogeneity  2014 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Stop waiting, start making: Lessons in liveability from Jeanne van Heeswijk | Design Indaba
"A lot of your work spans a long period of engagement, often five, six years. What is the value of time in your design process?

I think spending time is a very important design element – to learn about the situation; to learn about the questions. Sometimes you have to hear things ten times just to understand the nuances of the way things are articulated. Quite often, when you enter a community for the first time or do work within a community, the first people you meet are already organised in one way or another. So they are often outspoken and they have a certain way to speak about the situation that is either angry or optimistic, depending whose side they are on. Spending time gives you the opportunity to hear more people’s opinion and different nuances of the same thing.

For example in Anfield, Liverpool, [where a housing renewal scheme meant people’s homes where bought up by the state for redevelopment that never took place] people repeatedly said: “We don’t like what is happening in our area. We don’t like these boarded-up houses. We are angry with the council.” But it was not until someone said that they were “sick of the waiting” that we really came to the crux of the matter. And what we’re talking about here is two things: waiting as an activity and not feeling well about it. In an area where you want to encourage living well, it is interesting to start working with this idea: to stop the waiting and to start making. This might seem like a very simple idea, but it is about the way it is formulated. We could have said: “Ok, you don’t like the boarded-up houses, let’s open up the houses again” but actually I don’t think that would have created the same process in order to stop the waiting.

By creating something collectively, by doing and making, whether it is a building or a loaf of bread, once you start producing again, it moves people from waiting into action. For me it is a very important condition for all my projects: to co-produce change, to co-produce an environment. And for that you need to work together and learn together and you basically just need to spend time. In practical terms that doesn’t mean I necessarily stay around all the time. Sometimes it is good to go back and forth. Often I spend of chunk of time, three to four months at a time, working on a specific project.

You work in communities across the globe. How do you overcome being an outsider?

I don’t believe in the local as a fixed unity. Locality is a mix of what I call local experts. A local expert can be someone who lives there but it can also be someone who works there. For example in the Afrikanerwijk, Rotterdam, the market stallholders, who are only there on market days, are very important for what happens in the area. They come from all over the Netherlands and even outside the Netherlands but they have an expertise because they know what it means to be at that market. This is an important dynamic. Sometimes certain localities have certain emergent issues that need experts to come from outside because they don’t have that specific expertise on location.

What are the ingredients for successful participation?

I think there is no recipe for it. That is the thing. Too often we want to try to package participation into recipes, strategies or deliverables so that we can easily tick the boxes at the end of the day. In my work I set up a situation where we can start producing again. You have to set up camp; set up shop; set up your studio there. Start working on site with people in the conditions that are there.

I think it is vital that all projects should be site-specific, context-specific, people-specific. There is no recipe for that because every situation is really different. Although there are some global trends and the pressure of capitalism drives the need for renewal everywhere, every situation is so specific: of course you have to work with the people who are there. I don’t think you should enter into a process completely blind: I do my research very well, but you have to go in there with the ability and the desire to learn about the situation and not with a preconceived plan or criteria or ideas. You can’t arrive with something and say: “Oh, I already drew something that you might like … ”

If capitalism has made us passive consumers, then how can we become active producers? How do you overcome passivity and bring people to action?

You keep poking them. Sometimes this is the hardest thing for people to do; to step over that boundary, to leave that passive consumerism behind and really start taking part. It is hard because becoming an active participant in producing an environment means taking risks. If you take risks, you make mistakes. People might not like what you produce, so you are continuously confronted with “the other” and confrontation is not something that makes us comfortable. But it is something we need in order to have a relationship with anyone or anything.

We need to confront and negotiate the difference; the different perception of what self and identity is or what we are together or can be together. The future you imagine and my vision might look completely different, yet here we are sitting together on this couch and we have to figure it out.

What is the value of making or producing?

To make is very important. Almost in a Marxist way we need to reclaim the right and means of production. I think at this moment in time we need to claim the right to produce culture; to produce cultural relationships and the cultural sphere. We need to reclaim this right from advertising, mass media and consumerism. I am an old-fashioned believer in the idea that we have to make things ourselves in order to get a grip on reality."

[See also:
http://www.designindaba.com/videos/interviews/jeanne-van-heeswijk-becoming-co-producers-our-own-future
http://www.designindaba.com/videos/conference-talks/jeanne-van-heeswijk-community-development-co-production ]
jeannevanheeswijk  art  making  production  participatory  2013  local  participation  consumerism  marxism  capitalism  identity  self  learning  howwelearn  outsiders  time  progress  urbanrenewal  gentrification  risks  risktaking 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Liberalism and Gentrification | Jacobin
"Gentrification isn’t a cultural phenomenon — it’s a class offensive by powerful capitalists."



"Tying up your assets, your middle-class future, in home values does something to people. It alters their interests. It sutures a professional class, of liberal and even progressive beliefs, to the rapacious capitalist expansion into the city. The people who move to gentrifying areas tend to have liberal, tolerant, cosmopolitan sympathies. But they are aligned materially with reactionary and oppressive city restructuring, pushing them into antagonism with established residents, who do nothing for property values. Behind every Jane Jacobs comes Rudy Giuliani with his nightstick."



"The liberal discourse on gentrification has absolutely nothing to say about finance or prison, the two most salient institutions in urban life. Instead, it does what liberal discourse so often does: it buries the structural forces at work and choreographs a dance about individual choice to perform on the grave. We get tiny dramas over church parking lots and bike lanes and whether 7-11 will be able to serve chicken wings. Gentrification becomes a culture war, a battle over consumer choices: gourmet cupcake shop or fried chicken joint? Can we all live side by side, eating gourmet pickles with our fried fish sandwiches? Will blacks and whites hang out in the same bars? wonders Racialicious.

The problems of gentrification always boil down to those of mutual tolerance (and so, poor black people often become “racists” intolerant of yuppies); the solutions, therefore, reside in personal conduct and ethical choices. In “How To Be A Good Gentrifier,” Elahe Izadi offers such helpful pointers as saying hello to your neighbors and not crossing the street to avoid them. After all, if you’re going to participate in the expulsion of poor people from their communities, you might as well be civil."



"Marx called the violent expropriation of the poor from their lands “primitive accumulation.” The term conjures a one-time sin, in the distant past — Adam Smith called it “originary accumulation.” However, primitive accumulation accompanies capitalist development every step of the way, wherever valuable land meets valueless humanity.

In the early days of America, before Washington existed, nothing short of genocide would suffice. Today’s colonization requires little more than a low-interest mortgage and 911 on speed dial. In the face of this slow destruction of the urban poor, liberals have only one question: can’t we have fried chicken and cupcakes, too?"
capitalism  gentrification  ideology  homeownership  policy  politics  race  racism  2014  gavinmueller  brokenwindows  rudygiuliani  janejacobs  economics  money  sharonzukin  class  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  carollloyd  sanfrancisco  washingtondc  nyc  richardflorida  creativeclass  frantzfanon  primitiveaccumulation  colonization  housing 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Urbanicide in all good faith
"A serial killer of cities is wandering about the planet. Its name is UNESCO, and its lethal weapon is the label “World Heritage”, with which it drains the lifeblood from glorious villages and ancient metropolises, embalming them in a brand-name time warp."



"It is heartrending to watch the death throes of so many cities. Glorious, opulent and hectic for centuries and in some cases millennia, they survived the vicissitudes of history, wars, pestilence and earthquakes. But now, one after the other, they are withering and becoming steadily less populated, reduced to theatrical backdrops against which a bloodless pantomime is performed. Where life once throbbed, and cantankerous humans elbowed their way through the world, pushing and shoving and trampling on one another, now you will find only ubiquitously similar snack bars and stalls selling quaint specialities and muslins, batiks and cottons, beach wraps and bracelets. What was once a bustling din of loud excitement is now all conveniently listed in travel brochures.

The death warrant for these cities is delivered at the end of a lengthy bureaucratic process held in a building in Paris, in Place Fontenoy, in the seventh arrondissement. The verdict is an indelible label, a branding iron that marks you forever.
The label I refer to is that of the World Heritage Sites, issued by UNESCO. Its touch is lethal: wherever the UNESCO hallmark is applied to a city, the city dies out, becoming the stuff of taxidermy.

This veritable urbanicide (an ugly word, nevertheless better than the horrible “femicide”) is not deliberately perpetrated. On the contrary, it is committed in all good faith and with the loftiest intentions, to preserve examples of heritage for the benefit of humanity. But, as the word says, to preserve means to embalm, or freeze, to rescue from wear and tear and the scars of time; it means to halt time and fix it in a snapshot, to prevent it from changing and evolving.

The urbanistic dilemma offered by UNESCO is an irksome one. There are of course, monuments that need to be defended and protected. But it is also true that, if in 450 BC the Acropolis in Athens had been protected just the way it was then, we would have neither the Propylaeum nor the Parthenon, nor the Erectheum. UNESCO would have turned its nose up in horror at Rome as it was in the 16th and 17th centuries, which produced an admirable pot-pourri of antiquity, mannerism and baroque. Thank heavens the Marais in Paris was not declared a World Heritage site, otherwise we could forget the Beaubourg.

A balance needs to be struck between constructing and preserving. We want to live in cities that include museums and works of art, not in mausoleums with dormitory suburbs attached. It is an inhuman punishment to spend one’s life in the guest-quarters of an endless museum. I recently went back to San Gimignano after a 30-year absence. Within its walls there is not a butcher, not a greengrocer, nor genuine baker to be found. Why so? After the bars, restaurants and souvenir shops have closed, you won’t find the locals sleeping in the city centre any more – they all live outside, in modern condos. Within the city walls, everything has become a set for medieval costume movies, with the inevitable products of “invention of tradition” for commercial uses. The smaller the city the quicker its demise.

Not only in Italy. In Laos, Luang Prabang has suffered the same fate, and its historic centre is now a tourist trap, its houses all converted into hotels and restaurants, with the usual street market – identical the world over – selling the same old necklaces, canvas handbags and leather belts. To find out where the Laotians really live, you have to pedal a couple of kilometres out to Phothisalath Road, beyond Phu Vao Road.

If you walk through Porto, Portugal, you will immediately perceive the invisible frontier of the declared World Heritage area: the variegated and heterogeneous humanity of its urban fabric gives way as if by magic to a monotonous monoculture of innkeepers, bar-tenders and waiters touting for customers recognisable by their hiking boots worn in the city, by their hideously short shorts and hairy legs (why on earth do human beings on a tourist mission feel authorised to dress as they would never dream of doing at home?). Likewise, the World Heritage brand acts as an ideological diploma issued to the hotel industry, as the cultured and humanitarian face of the worldwide tourist machine.

With two aggravating circumstances. The first is what might be called “chronological integralism”, or “temporal fundamentalism”, whereby what dates from an earlier time is worthier of merit. If a site happens to be a thousand years older, the excavation of a Roman wall is justification for tampering with a magnificent medieval cloister (as happened in Lisbon Cathedral). The second aggravating circumstance is of a general philosophical nature: since UNESCO is multiplying its world heritage sites and since humanity continues to produce works of art (or so we hope), if after 2000 years we are already immobilised by innumerable pieces of heritages, what will happen in another 1000 or 2000 years’ time? Will we all be living on the moon and buying tickets to visit the planet Earth?

Let us remember how it has gone so far: in 1972, after several years of discussions, the UNESCO General Conference adopted the World Heritage Convention, which to date (2014) has been adopted by 190 countries. In 1976 the World Heritage Committee was established, and in 1978 it identified its first site. By 2014, after 38 ordinary and 10 extraordinary sessions, it had defined 981 sites in 160 countries. Of these world heritage sites, 759 are cultural, 193 natural, and 29 mixed.

The 759 cultural heritage sites include 254 cities (entire or partial, one district only or the historic centre only). The absolute majority (138) of these art-cities are situated in Europe. In turn, almost half of the European art cities are in just four countries: Italy (29 art cities, including Vatican City and the Republic of San Marino), Spain (17), France and Germany (11 each). Considering its relatively small surface, Italy is the country with the world’s highest density of world heritage sites.

The fact is that the branding just keeps rolling on. One might have thought that what there was to be declared heritage in a country like ours, so packed with history, ought to have already been branded by now. On the contrary: proceeding by decades, in Italy in the ‘70s just one site had been declared a world heritage; in the ‘80s, 5 more were added; and the ‘90s witnessed the biggest explosion, with 25 new heritage sites. But even in the first decade of our millennium a further 14 were identified; joined by 6 more in the first four years of the current decade. That makes a total of no less than 51 natural and art sites.

It is tragic moreover, that cities, towns and regions are queuing up and canvassing to get themselves embalmed. Like the countries aspiring to host the Olympics, unaware of the consequent ruination that will drag them into the abyss (see Greece), so our mayors, councillors and tourist offices strive to obtain the coveted status. We are terrified at the prospect of our country being reduced to one vast museum, where we will have to buy a ticket in order to walk around, while desperately looking for a way out. They’ll make a movie called Escape from the Museum to provide us with a breath of fresh air, a splash
of life, and the spectacle of cities changing before we return to our mothballed environs."
unesco  workdheritage  gentrification  population  development  change  unintendedconsequences  marcod'eramo  2014  worldheritageconvention  preservation  conservation  evolution  porto  portugal  urbanicide  urban  urbanism  cities 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Matt Hern: Vancouver: Spaces of Exclusion and Contestation - YouTube
"Matt Hern's presentation in Session 1, "Spaces of Exclusion and Contestation," in the symposium, "Planning the Vancouver Metropolitan Region: A Critical Perspective," presented by the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), April 15-16, 2014."
matthern  urban  urbanism  2014  portland  oregon  vancouver  britishcolumbia  gentrification  exclusion  contestation  cities  communitygardens  bikelanes  displacement  communities  communityorganizing  purplethistle  groundswell  housing  capitalism  latecapitalism  predatorycapitalism  inequality  politics  policy  colonialism  dispossession  colonization  commons  occupation  density  urbanplanning  planning  solidarity  development  arrogance  difference  hospitality  generosity  friendship  activism 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The peril of hipster economics - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
"In a sweeping analysis of displacement in San Francisco and its increasingly impoverished suburbs, journalist Adam Hudson notes that "gentrification is trickle-down economics applied to urban development: the idea being that as long as a neighbourhood is made suitable for rich and predominantly white people, the benefits will trickle down to everyone else". Like trickle-down economics itself, this theory does not play out in practice.

Rich cities such as New York and San Francisco have become what journalist Simon Kuper calls gated citadels: "Vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself."

Struggling US cities of the rust belt and heartland lack the investment of coastal contemporaries, but have in turn been spared the rapid displacement of hipster economics. Buffered by their eternal uncoolness, these slow-changing cities have a chance to make better choices - choices that value the lives of people over the aesthetics of place.

In an April blog post, Umar Lee, a St Louis writer and full-time taxi driver, bemoaned the economic model of rideshare services, which are trying to establish themselves in the city. Noting that they hurt not only taxi drivers but poor residents who have neither cars nor public transport and thus depend on taxis willing to serve dangerous neighbourhoods, he dismisses Uber and Lyft as hipster elitists masquerading as innovators:

"I've heard several young hipsters tell me they're socially-liberal and economic-conservative, a popular trend in American politics," he writes. "Well, I hate to break it to you buddy, but it's economics and the role of the state that defines politics. If you're an economic conservative, despite how ironic and sarcastic you may be or how tight your jeans are, you, my friend, are a conservative …"

Lee tells me he has his own plan to try to mitigate the negative effects of gentrification, which he calls "50-50-20-15". All employers who launch businesses in gentrifying neighbourhoods should have a workforce that is at least 50 percent minorities, 50 percent people from the local neighbourhood, and 20 percent ex-offenders. The employees should be paid at least $15 per hour.

Gentrification spreads the myth of native incompetence: That people need to be imported to be important, that a sign of a neighbourhood's "success" is the removal of its poorest residents. True success lies in giving those residents the services and opportunities they have long been denied.

When neighbourhoods experience business development, priority in hiring should go to locals who have long struggled to find nearby jobs that pay a decent wage. Let us learn from the mistakes of New York and San Francisco, and build cities that reflect more than surface values."
cities  class  gentrification  hipsters  race  economics  inequality  redevelopment  sanfrancisco  nyc  brooklyn  poverty  adamhudson  sarahkendzior  spikelee  katharinagrosse  whitewashing  simonkuper  segregation  rustbelt 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Natural Disaster — Medium
"And it’s important, because gets at the way in which the city’s housing market seems to be less of a market these days and more of a casino. I heard Daniel deliver a longer version of his piece at a reading recently, and there, he added the sharpest, most succinct description of San Francisco’s problem I’ve yet heard:

“People are afraid to move.”

Simple as that. All of this wailing and gnashing of teeth about culture and money and corporate buses—none of it would rise to the level of crisis if that statement wasn’t true. But it is. This great influx of wealth has not made San Francisco nimble, lively, and exciting; it has made it static, grasping, and fearful. This is not how a city should function. Or, maybe a sharper phrasing is called for: a city cannot function this way."
robinsloan  mobility  sanfrancisco  housing  realestate  2014  cities  diversity  fear  gentrification 
march 2014 by robertogreco
We 'Choose' for Poor Children Every Day - Bridging Differences - Education Week
"You challenge me: "What gives you confidence that we get to choose?" You insist that "I don't pretend for a second that I get to choose. At least not for other people's children."

But in fact you/we are choosing, every day. In acts small and big, from deciding small classes don't matter, to deciding to gentrify Manhattan. The people of Harlem didn't have a choice. It's some other "we" who are moving other people and their children to locations not specified. What/who is it that didn't "adapt"? It wasn't the working people of Detroit or New Orleans or Manhattan who failed to "adapt"—it was the industries they counted on, the expertise of those well-educated people who did have the power to make some choices and failed to do so.

It was my dear old mother who warned me about people who cry "crisis" too often. I should beware of them, she said. Tell me what years there hasn't been a "crisis" that was blamed on our public schools? (Read Richard Rothstein's The Way Things Were—it's truly a fun read.) Yes, in some ways, I'm more "conservative" than you: I know who gets hurt first when we "disrupt" regardless ....

Yes, there is a lot of money spent on education, and any good entrepreneur seeks his or her opportunities where the money is. And then looks for ways to make more. That's not a plot or a conspiracy. Just good straight thinking. But not all entrepreneurs are equal when it comes to pushing for their self-interest.

So we agree on tests? If we do, then it wasn't test scores that revealed the rot in Detroit's schools for the poor. If you walked into them, without any data, you'd know immediately that you wouldn't CHOOSE to send your children there. Although for many parents it was a "home" of a sort, better than having none.

You wouldn't CHOOSE to live where these children do either. So whites moved out—by choice—and left Detroit what it is today. Whether the kinds of solutions that those who remained are exploring are utopian or not, I'm on their side. They're trying to reconstruct a city built on a different set of assumptions—that a community can be rebuilt out of the ashes. I wish them all the best, and offer any help I can.

It's too easy, from perches of comfort and adaptability, to say that factories come and go, as do oceans and rivers and mountains, and species. But the triumph of the human species, up to now, rests on its use of its brains. We're not exempt from some "laws" of nature. Adaptation isn't accomplished overnight. If we don't use our brains better (and more empathetically) we, too, will become extinct—although I can't adapt to that idea yet!

You and I—or some other somebodies—are deciding the future of "other people's children" unless we provide ways for "them" to have a voice, a vote, and the resources to decide their own future. We need to restore a better balance between local communal life (with its power to effect some immediate changes like we did at the small self-governing schools I love) and distant, "objective" moneyed power. It's our democracy that rests on our rebuilding strength at the bottom. If we don't, we induce a passivity that surely cannot be in the self-interest of the least powerful, but might (just might) be in the self-interest of others. And then we blame them for being passive?

The experiment in democracy may or may not survive this round, but I'm not giving up on it. "Self-governance"—of, for, and by the people, Robert, is what's at stake. Do we agree that it's an essential aspiration, another way of describing what we mean by freedom within community, or communities of free citizens? If so, what would it look like in schools given, as you remind me, the realities we must all "accept"—for the moment. Until we create new realities."
deborahmeier  2014  edreform  reform  education  democracy  choice  passivity  robertpondiscio  entrepreneurship  gentrification  adaptability  opportunity  community  schools  publischools  policy  self-governance  citizenship  civics  acceptance 
march 2014 by robertogreco
polis: Happy Fifty Years, Gentrification!
"A National Public Radio (NPR) journalist tweets that "yuppies can stop feeling guilty" because —based on a cursory glance — gentrification also benefits longtime residents. NPR ran her story with a URL extension that gives away the slant: "long-a-dirty-word-gentrification-may-be-losing-its-stigma." Another reporter — looking at the same neighborhood as NPR — asks rhetorically, "is bemoaning the gentrification of Washington, DC, a genre past its prime?" (File this one under: Writing by the Victims of Moaning About Gentrification.)"



"But gentrification, as a word, is incapable of projecting the benign "balm" that some in the media and academia make it out to be. Does anyone identify as gentry? Hardly anybody (though some people do, certainly). But do any of the gentrification-friendly journalists self-identify as gentry? The gentry are generally understood to be an over-advantaged lot. In the history of literature and art, the gentry hoard property and privilege as much as they can, yet they obsess over their manners and style in order to disguise their rapacity. These are the basic reasons why gentrification carries with it the power of biting satire. Glass (a Marxist) was well aware of this. It's precisely because no one likes to reveal themselves as such shameless climbers that periodic efforts emerge to revise the definition of the word and deaden its force. In reality, using the word without its satirical edge is a surefire recipe for sounding like a member of the gentry oneself.

Indeed, urban dwellers (or their scribes) are free to identify as the entitled members of a rigid caste system if they like, but that doesn't mean they can salvage the term gentrification for the better. One can't have it both ways. Either there is gentrification or there isn't. Period. And recalling Barton, I'd venture to say that the locals experiencing it have a better sense of what's going on. To give it any positive spin implies denial of the stratifying wave the process begets. In short, gentrification doesn't just happen."



"Here is another way to look at it: for these studies and articles to be on the mark, their authors must unfortunately be using gentrification wrong. If everyone's lot is improving, then we're not speaking of gentrification, or are we? Perhaps this is the case and the word has been poorly chosen. But NPR's Laura Sullivan and the scholars she cites do stress gentrification time and time again. They seem to celebrate what they see changing. She writes, "every other shop is a new restaurant, high-end salon or bar. The neighborhood is gentrifying." Whether this cohort realizes it or not, it takes gentrification to usher in the gentry, and vice versa. And even if some legacy residents stick it out, that is not evidence of gentrification's benevolent gifts trickling down to these folks."



"The core problem with these stories reflects a turning away from what gentrification precisely means, perhaps out of fear that one is, or could be, complicit in the process. And yet, at the same time, the classist anxieties over gentrification's Other — Brown's "slumification" comment, for example — show how phobias of the poor and colored rank higher than a concern over one's own role in the process. This hardly makes for good research or journalism.

I, for one, would be thrilled to read that gentrification is not happening — that we all misidentified one of the most significant urban restructuring processes of the past half-century. But if gentrification is taking place — and it certainly is (and has) — someone must be practicing it. Moreover, even among studies that acknowledge the detrimental effects of gentrification, there is a pattern of focusing on the seemingly independent decisions made by individual homebuyers (and, sometimes, renters). These housing consumers are in a putative "market" devoid of actual power brokers. Realtor groups, homeowners associations, business improvement districts, employers, public and private police forces, government policymakers, planning consultants, politicians, marketing agencies, banking and insurance firms, and the news media all cooperate, in different ways, to gentrify.

So the constant focus on the homebuyer/renter as the sole gentrifier can have a detrimental effect on anti-gentrification efforts. The consumer doesn't act alone. The usual hero or villain central to gentrification narratives — the consumer (if such an abstraction has any meaning) — is more likely to be the last ingredient in the mix. Therefore, the concerted pressure of gentrification suggests that communities should not cede possession of the term itself."
javierarbona  2014  gentrification  cities  inequality  housing  urbanism  urban  language  economics  power  justindavidson  rosalyndeutsche  caragendelryan  ruthglass  neilsmith  robgodspeed  laurasullivan  danielhartley  jerrybrown  oakland  washingtondc  jonathanmahler  raniakhalek  dc 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Cristal Ball | EduShyster
"Reform hits the *g* spot
You know what tastes great when you’re done *crushing* the achievement gap? A Venti soy, half-caff, caramel macchiato with two shots of vanilla syrup. And by vanilla, I mean va*nil*la. It turns out that Reform, Inc. may finally have cracked the code for overcoming poverty without actually doing anything about poverty. It’s called *gentrification,* and it’s all the rage in reformy hot spots like Chicago, Washington, DC and New Orleans. 2014 prediction: the Fordham Institute opens up a satellite office in Cleveland because, well, Cleveland rocks."



"Fick val?
Reader: have you been longing to witness a decades-long experiment with school choice for yourself but lack the krona to get to Sweden? Great news! Now you can experience the wonders of choice-i-fi-cation, right here at home. Today’s destination: Minnesota, the first state to permit charter schools, where academies of excellence and innovation are popping up like ice fishing shanties atop one of the state’s 10,000 frozen lakes. The newest of these schools share a common trait with the snow that currently blankets the North Star State: whiteness. In the last five years, the number of mostly white suburban charters grew by 40%. In fact choosy Minnesota moms and dads now have a dazzling array of single race charters to choose from. 2014 prediction: this alarming trend will be completely ignored and, thanks to reform $$ falling like snowflakes, Minnesota will only charter harder."
education  commoncore  2014  schools  learning  policy  gentrification  sweden  minnesota  poverty  jenniferberkshire  edreform  reform  chicago  washingtondc  cleveland  neworleans  dc  nola  charterschools 
january 2014 by robertogreco
NPR Code Switch | When Our Kids Own America
"It’s much harder now to patrol the ramparts of our cultures, to distinguish between the appreciators and appropriators. Just who gets to play in which cultural sandboxes? Who gets to be the bouncer at the velvet rope?"



"If something is everywhere and everyone trafficks in it, who gets to decide when it’s real or not? What happens when hip-hop stops being black culture and becomes simply youth culture?"



"So once some piece of black American culture slips outside that culture, when does it stop being black and just become this new thing? Where do the borders of one culture end and another begin?"



"When young people inherit the new America, this reconfigured hip-hop will be part of their birthright: the code-switching, style-shifting, and swagger-jacking that’s always been there, mashed up with stories about thrift-shopping, border-crossing and rich South Koreans. Lest anyone get it twisted and think this new America will be some kind of Benetton ad, be forewarned: it’s going to be confusing and it’s going to be messy."



"My generation started writing our chapters on race during the Crack Era — the time of of Rodney King, The Cosby Show, and Menace II Society. But that was 20-something years ago, and we’re still applying the templates that we created in 1992 and 1963 to the chapters that are being scripted now. Those old stories reflect a starkly different demographic reality than the one we now inhabit. It’s not that those stories are wrong, it’s that they’re incomplete. And so we find ourselves having to assimilate into these places we thought we knew and that we thought were ours.

The Afropunk skater in Philly, the Korean b-boy graffiti artist in Los Angeles, the bluegrass-loving Latino hipster in Austin — they’re all inheriting an America in which they’ll have access to even more hyphens in their self-definitions. That’s undoubtedly a good thing. But it’s important that those stories be complete as well. If you’re in Maricopa County, Ariz., and brown, the sheriff’s deputies won’t care whether you’re bumping Little Dragon in your ride when they pull you over. The way each of us experiences culture each day may be increasingly unmoored from genre, from geography, and yes, even from race, but America will not be easily untethered from the anchor of its history. We may be more equal, but mostly in our iPods.

How the country fares in the next century will depend in part on how it deals with these dissonances. It will be determined by whether we grapple with the complications of some basic assumptions about our spaces — who gets to play and work and live in them and how they get to do that.

And so, the “Harlem Shake” kerfuffle isn’t just about some hip-hop dance, but about these anxieties of ownership of the past and future, about generational tensions around acknowledgement, respect and reverence, about the understandable if futile impulse to want culture to retain something like purity, about disparities in power both real and perceived, about land and property, about realness and authenticity and race and history.

For good or ill, the country our kids are creating will work by new, confounding rules.

It’s the rest of us, those of us who’ve been here for awhile and who still find comfort with these old modes of viewing the world, who will start to face the discomfort of assimilating. A Minnesota suburb that looks more like a Brooklyn ‘hood. A “Harlem Shake” that looks nothing like Harlem."
codeswitch  codeswitching  2013  culture  appropriation  us  appreciation  gentrification  diversity  race  ethnicity  harlemshake  genedemby  rafaelcastillo  laurenrock  npr  harlem  nyc  oakland  brooklynpark  minnesota  discrimination  sterotypes  popularculture  hiphop  marginalization  teens  youth  youthculture  ebonics  ceciliacutler  civilrightsmovement  blackpanthers  joshkun  signaling  separateness  hsamyalim  language  communication  english  wealth  power  access  borders  repurposing  shereenmarisolmeraji  chantalgarcia  music  remixing  sampling  dumbfounded  jonathanpark  losangeles  biboying  breakdancing  messiness  stevesaldivar  hansilowang  karengrigsbybates  assimilation  generation  demographics  evolution  change  canon  remixculture  blackpantherparty 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Fallacy of the creative class: Why Richard Florida’s ‘urban renaissance’ won’t save U.S. cities | Grist
"For years, Richard Florida and other urban life pundits have espoused the creative class as the secret to city success. When the creative class wins, their logic goes, we all win. Gentrification has essentially become America’s favored urban redevelopment strategy.

Florida has acknowledged that the rise of the creative class can exacerbate urban class divides, but his new research highlights just how big those divides can be."

"We always talk about the physical engineering that we need to protect cities, and systems and people during crises. We have failed to recognize the significance of our social infrastructure, the way in which communications matters, the way in which our relationships with neighbors, and family and friends matters; the way in which our neighborhood can protect or imperil us, depending on where we are. … [W]hen a real disaster strikes, it’s the social stuff that might make the difference between life and death."
cities  gentrification  urban  urbanism  creativeclass  2013  richardflorida  oakland  socialinfrastructure 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013
"there are ways in which technology is just another boom and the Bay Area is once again a boomtown, with transient populations, escalating housing costs, mass displacements and the casual erasure of what was here before. I think of it as frontierism, with all the frontier’s attitude and operational style, where people without a lot of attachments come and do things without a lot of concern for their impact, where money moves around pretty casually, and people are ground underfoot equally casually. Sometimes the Google Bus just seems like one face of Janus-headed capitalism; it contains the people too valuable even to use public transport or drive themselves. In the same spaces wander homeless people undeserving of private space, or the minimum comfort and security; right by the Google bus stop on Cesar Chavez Street immigrant men from Latin America stand waiting for employers in the building trade to scoop them up, or to be arrested and deported by the government. Both sides of the divide are bleak, and the middle way is hard to find."
rebeccasolnit  2013  siliconvalley  culture  technology  colonialism  gentrification  cities  class  via:Preoccupations  sanfrancisco  techsector  invasion  frontier  californianideology 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Berlin's housing bubble and the backlash against hipster tourists | Jochen Hung | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
"Skyrocketing housing costs in Berlin can't be blamed on an influx of 'foreigners', but are in fact fuelled by the global financial crisis"

[Video referenced and embedded within: https://vimeo.com/16116523 ]
immigration  2012  cities  germany  economics  gentrification  berlin 
september 2012 by robertogreco
matthew gallaway - A Few Notes On Overgentrification
"The piece also fails to address the problems that really afflict neighborhoods in NYC and elsewhere around the world undergoing similar transformations. In West Chelsea, the problem is clearly not the High Line, but rather the effects of an unfettered system — at local and federal levels — that has allowed an arguably unprecedented concentration of wealth in our country, which (yes) makes it all but impossible for those without millions of dollars to afford to live (or at least buy) in those neighborhoods now being populated by those who have — let’s just call it — too much money. At the same time, however, the solution is not to stop the development of parks or to whine about gas-station/auto-shop leases not being renewed; the solution is rather (and this is hardly revolutionary or at least revelatory) to tax the rich, both individuals and corporations, and to distribute the money to the less-than-rich, in ways that are reasonably fair and equitable. That’s what government is for…"
society  urbanplanning  wealthdistribution  policy  taxes  us  wealth  highline  manhattan  brooklyn  nyc  2012  gentrification 
august 2012 by robertogreco
TRACK
"TRACK is a unique art experience in the public and semi public space of the city of Ghent. It offers surprising, enriching and unexpected encounters with the city, its history and its inhabitants and incites to reflect upon urban realities and the contemporary human condition in a broader sense. 41 international artists were invited to conceive new art works that are strongly rooted in the urban fabric of Ghent but link the local context with issues of global significance.

The two curators Philippe Van Cauteren and Mirjam Varadinis took the time to select exemplary locations in the wider city centre of Ghent and invited artists who have an affinity with the thematical context of those places…

TRACK is conceived as a universe of parallel narrations, occurences and (hi)stories."
parallelexperience  globalization  gentrification  publicspace  publicart  space  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  science  language  economics  migration  religion  mobility  glvo  culture  place  urban  urbanism  europe  cities  art  belgium  ghent  2012  track  mirjamvaradinis  philippevancauteren 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Episode 253: Nils Norman : Bad at Sports
"Norman founded an experimental space called Poster Studio on Charing Cross Road, London. This space was a collaborative effort with Merlin Carpenter and Dan Mitchell. In 1998 in New York he set up Parasite, together with the artist Andrea Fraser, a collaborative artist led initiative that developed an archive for site-specific projects.

Norman now lives and works in London Copenhagen. He exhibits internationally in commercial galleries, museum, and in public and alternative spaces. He writes articles, designs book covers and posters, collaborates with other artists, teaches and lectures in European and the US. Norman completed a major design project: an 80m pedestrian bridge and two islands for Roskilde Commune in Denmark in 2005 and is now working together with Nicholas Hare Architects on a school playground project for the new Golden Lane Campus, East London. He has recently finished an artist residency at the University of Chicago, Chicago, USA."
dogooderism  academia  careerism  culture  readerbrothers  lauraowens  making  authenticity  values  trust  productivity  production  productionvalue  local  deschooling  unschooling  communities  dinnerparties  supperclubs  formalization  access  creativepractice  contradiction  mfa  lowresidencymfa  purpose  posterstudio  soprah  situationist  culturalspace  privatespaces  publicspace  institutionalization  bohemia  bohemians  cityasclassroom  cities  gentrification  josefstrau  stephandillemuth  economics  neoliberalism  richardflorida  socialpractice  denmark  chicago  site-specificprojects  roskildecommune  collaboration  arteducation  education  2010  artproduction  nilsnorman  colinward  explodingschool  artists  interviews  art 
april 2012 by robertogreco
dConstruct2011 videos: The Transformers, Kars Alfrink
"In this talk, Kars Alfrink – founder and principal designer at applied pervasive games studio Hubbub – explores ways we might use games to alleviate some of the problems wilful social self-seperation can lead to. Kars looks at how people sometimes deliberately choose to live apart, even though they share the same living spaces. He discusses the ways new digital tools and the overlapping media landscape have made society more volatile. But rather than to call for a decrease in their use, Kars argues we need more, but different uses of these new tools. More playful uses."

[See also: http://2011.dconstruct.org/conference/kars-alfrink AND http://speakerdeck.com/u/dconstruct/p/the-transformers-by-kars-alfrink ]

"Kars looks at how game culture and play shape the urban fabric, how we might design systems that improve people’s capacity to do so, and how you yourself, through play, can transform the city you call home."
monocultures  rulespace  self-governance  gamification  filterbubble  scale  tinkering  urbanism  urban  simulationfever  animalcrossing  simulation  ludology  proceduralrhetoric  ianbogost  resilience  societalresilience  division  belonging  rioting  looting  socialconventions  situationist  playfulness  rules  civildisobedience  separation  socialseparation  nationality  fiction  dconstruct2011  dconstruct  identity  cities  chinamieville  design  space  place  play  gaming  games  volatility  hubbub  howbuildingslearn  adaptability  adaptivereuse  architecture  transformation  gentrification  society  2011  riots  janejacobs  karsalfrink  simulations 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Detroit: The Death of Manhattanism - Op-Ed - Domus
"As far as the similarities from one urban circumstance to another, there is a case to be made for the emergence of a global typology and the slow transformation of American cities toward a global model. White flight, the demographic phenomenon that defined American cities in the 2nd half of the twentieth century, is finally unwinding itself. Witness the rise of the "hipster," which is really just a polite and racially sublimated way of talking about white culture as urban culture. Alongside this, we are witnessing the rise of the black and immigrant suburbs. American cities are moving in the direction of operating more like European and South American cities. The latter part of the twentieth century in this country was an anomaly compared to global urban and suburban development, and that historical moment is over."
detroit  brooklyn  berlin  cities  mitchmcewen  urban  hipsterism  globalcities  transformation  hipsters  gentrification  us  urbanism  2011  suburbs  innercities  diversity  segregation  nola  neworleans 
august 2011 by robertogreco
'Remigration' Imagines a City With No Workers | Art Beat | PBS NewsHour | PBS
"Imagine a city occupied exclusively by the upper class. High rents and property costs have pushed out construction workers, public school teachers, subway operators and other middle- and lower-wage earners.

'Remigration,' a short film which can be viewed online as part of ITVS' 'Futurestates' series, imagines how this scenario might play out in San Francisco in the not-too-distant future.

Director Barry Jenkins explores this idea of extreme gentrification from the point of view of a couple who have been forced to move inland from San Francisco after a job loss and family illness. The city seeks out Kaya and his wife, Helen, to test a new program that entices working-class laborers back to the city with fair wages and the promise of a college scholarship for their young daughter -- in exchange for taking up blue collar work.

"Futurestates" asks filmmakers to imagine how current events could play out 20-30 years from now and to explore that idea through short narrative film…"
gentrification  fiction  future  futurism  hypergentrification  migration  barryjenkins  sanfrancisco  via:bldgblog  remigration  futurestates  cities  urban  urbanism  class  society  wealth  segregation  globalwarming  labor  2011  wealthdistribution 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Gangs and Cupcakes: Violence and Sugar Go Together - Nicola Twilley - Life - The Atlantic
"map, created by UC Berkeley undergrad Danya Al-Saleh, overlays bakeries in the Mission district of San Francisco w/ Norteño & Sureño gang territory.<br />
<br />
As Al-Saleh writes, cupcakes & gangs, violence & sugar, "are perceived to exist in separate worlds." And yet, as the Mission Local blog reports, a recent homicide, followed swiftly by a lunchtime gunfight, "offered Mission District residents a reminder that the hip neighbourhood where they feast on everything from the latest doughnut recipe to cupcakes & artisan pork rinds is also a place where gang violence still exists, & where a 2007 gang injunction is still in place."<br />
<br />
I have written about the insights to be gained from a spatial analysis of cupcake proliferation before, on Edible Geography, in a post inspired by Rutgers Urban Policy lecturer Dr. Kathe Newman's theory that "cupcake shops can provide a more accurate and timely guide to the frontiers of urban gentrification than traditional demographic & real estate data sets"
culture  geography  food  violence  sanfrancisco  cupcakes  gangs  maps  mapping  gentrification  missiondistrict  2011  ediblegeography  themission 
march 2011 by robertogreco
There Goes the Neighborhood!
"North Park is going through some dramatic changes. Many of these changes have been spurred by the fact that it is viewed by many as an art and culture district in San Diego. This perception comes with baggage. That baggage is that when the Arts move in, gentrification is soon to follow. There Goes the Neighborhood! is a four day event that not only hopes to shed light on issues of art and its relationship to a specific community, but to also re-examine, through artistic interventions, some aspects of the neighborhood that are sometimes overlooked. There Goes the Neighborhood! has been organized by a group of artists, architects, and interested parties as a way to initiate a conversation about the dynamics of the neighborhood. Our intention, and why you are now reading this, is to include as many people from North Park in the discussion as possible. We hope to see to you there!"
northpark  sandiego  theregoestheneighborhood  art  activism  gentrification  agitprop  the2837university  agitpropproject 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Cities and Urban Life: A #Longreads #List - future perfect
"I often find that urbanism and urban living are overly romanticized, more often by citydwellers themselves: Stumbling through concrete caravans dripping with mystique, a day-to-day narrative of tempered chaos, or an odd catharsis as told through the lens of sidewalk meet-cute. I often long for life closer to the wilderness, clogged by forests and dirty roads, but I remain fascinated with the totally batshit way in which cities are planned and built, and how urban geography and city design transcribe social and psychological narratives on the human lives lived within. So I put together a list of five wonderful city narratives from the past several years:" [Read all of these but the first (will do), but this makes a nice index.]
urban  urbanism  cities  longreads  toread  gentrification 
january 2011 by robertogreco
David Galbraith’s Blog » How to Solve Berlin’s Gentrification War.
"Berlin’s slow-burn emergence as Europe’s cultural capital has resulted in a deep rooted creative scene, but that is being threatened. Berlin’s artists are now rebelling against a Yuppy invasion.

One of the problems with gentrification is that the people that originally make an area more desirable (artists) don’t gain and the people that gain (yuppies), often make it less desirable. The reason for this is that creatives rent and can’t buy, and yuppies buy but don’t create.

But imagine a property fund that was based on a simple rule - follow the artists, it would make a fortune. It should be possible then to fund the arts through some mechanism that capitalizes on this.

An arts fund that created artists mortgages with the expectation that they increase the value of properties without normally benefiting (as happened in Shoreditch) could really help mitigate this kind of change, without any external subsidy…"
davidgalbraith  berlin  art  artists  realestate  housing  renting  gentrification  yuppies  money  finance 
january 2011 by robertogreco
How Does It Feel To Be A Problem? - Culture - The Atlantic
"Man listen--Negroes like Atlanta. Negroes like Chicago. Negroes like Houston. Negroes like Raleigh-Durham (another area that doesn't make the cut, for some reason.) Negroes like Oakland. Negroes have the right to like where they live, independent of Massa, for their own particular, native, independent reasons (family? great barbecue? housing stock?) Just like Jewish-Americans have the right to like New York--or not. Just like Japanese-Americans have the right to like Cali--or not.

This particular Negro loves Denver--and Chicago too. But the notion that black people are pawns on a chess-board, which conservatives and liberals move around in order to one-up each each other, has got to go. Sometimes--just sometimes--a black dude isn't a problem. He's just a dude trying to marry a beautiful woman, raise a decent kid, retire to an tropical island, smoke some good herb, and drink some good rum.

Let Portland be Portland. And let black folks be themselves. We're getting along fine."
cities  race  ta-nehisicoates  portland  atlanta  nyc  houston  dallas  progressive  urban  diversity  chicago  seattle  austin  minneapolis  denver  oregon  losangeles  raleigh  2009  gentrification  politics  policy 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Real Estate Bust: How Creatives Are Carving Up L.A.'s Empty Space - Core77
"I bring this up now because probably every designer, architect or artist I've ever spoken with has expressed the desire to open and operate a space: a gallery, a store, a classroom. And I would say this is the time. There's a reason this is the age of the pop-up shop: space is available, and it's yours for the taking. ... Here in Los Angeles, groups like Phantom Galleries (modeled after another group in San Jose) work with artists and temporarily empty businesses to create installations. The entire city of Glendale, an L.A.-adjacent enclave, is launching its own program to fill its (many) empty superstores. Recently the art show Manifest Equality placed the work of 200 artists in a former Big Lots supermarket in the heart of Hollywood. Groups like these are working in every city, looking for designers, architects and artists to activate their vacant spaces."
art  artists  losangeles  realestate  urban  gentrification  entrepreneurship  core77  phantomgalleries  machineproject  lcproject  glvo  temporary  galleries  exhibits  oogabooga  stores  popup  pop-ups 
april 2010 by robertogreco
West Follywood - Page 1 - News - Los Angeles - LA Weekly
"How a progressive town founded on renters' rights and diversity ended up gridlocked, angry and elitist"
westhollywood  politics  losangeles  rentersrights  diversity  money  planning  gentrification  elitism 
april 2010 by robertogreco
The Ruse of the Creative Class | The American Prospect
"Cities that shelled out big bucks to learn Richard Florida's prescription for vibrant urbanism are now hearing they may be beyond help." ... "There is a long tradition of charismatic economic--development troubadours. In the 1990s, it was Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor who swept into inner cities with his theories of industry clusters. But Florida has taken the art to a new level, wielding his "creativity index" and making each city feel that, whatever its shortcomings, it has the potential to move up the ladder.
creativeclass  richardflorida  gentrification  inequality  development  planning  creative  millennials  realestate  sustainability  urbanism  geography  creativity  cities  economics  architecture  boosterism 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Fighting Gentrification With Money In Houston : NPR
"Redefining Houston's Third Ward: State Rep. Garnet Coleman's district is full of history — but he wants to protect its future."
houston  thirdward  housing  gentrification  cities 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Greener Houston Grapples With Diversity And Sprawl : NPR
"Houston is where you find out what happens when a million people drop by your place.

That's roughly what's going on now in Greater Houston. The metro population has increased by roughly a million this decade. People came as immigrants from Mexico and China. They came as job-seekers from California. They came as refugees from New Orleans.

So that's why Morning Edition traveled here: We're following the crowd."
transportation  houston  urbanization  sustainability  gentrification  cities  planning  growth  energy  environment 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Cupcake Gentrification
"Now, according to Dr. Kathe Newman, a lecturer at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, it turns out that a spatial analysis of cupcake proliferation could also reveal the flow of capital investment in cities.

In an interview with Cakespy.com, Dr. Newman explained that she is currently building a collaboratively sourced map of New York City’s cupcake shops. In September 2009, Dr. Newman and her students will use this map to embark on a “Tour de Cupcake” – a fieldwork (and tasting) exercise designed to test her theory that cupcake shops can provide a more accurate and timely guide to the frontiers of urban gentrification than traditional demographic and real estate data sets. Finally, she intends to submit a paper summarising her findings to the Urban Affairs Review."
cartography  maps  mapping  gentrification  newyork  cities  urban  urbanplanning  economics  culture  geography  food  cupcakes  losangeles 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Pasadena Weekly - Separate and unequal - Nowhere in California is the gap between rich and poor greater than in Pasadena
"In many respects, Pasadena is a tale of two cities, and gentrification is exacerbating the gap between rich and poor. Pasadena's median household income increased from $51,233 in 2005 to $59,301 in 2006 -- a dramatic 15.7 percent boost in just one year. But this jump in income is not because Pasadena's existing residents got big pay raises from generous employers. It is because the people moving to Pasadena are increasingly those with high incomes, while those with low incomes are being pushed out of the city. In other words, the city's prosperity is not being widely shared, but pitting the affluent against the poor and working class for the city's scarce housing."
pasadena  2007  pasadenaweekly  wealth  gentrification  inequality  disparity  incomes  housing 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Artists vs. Blight - WSJ.com
"Artists have long been leaders of an urban vanguard that colonizes blighted areas. Now, the current housing crisis has created a new class of urban pioneer. Nationwide, home foreclosure proceedings increased 81% in 2008 from the previous year, rising to 2.3 million, according to California-based foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac. Homes in hard-hit cities such as Detroit and Cleveland are selling for as little as $1. Drawn by available spaces and cheap rents, artists are filling in some of the neighborhoods being emptied by foreclosures. City officials and community groups seeking ways to stop the rash of vacancies are offering them incentives to move in, from low rents and mortgages to creative control over renovation projects.
art  artists  recession  detroit  cleveland  housing  development  gentrification  redevelopment  buffalo  blight  realestate  urban  urbanism  economics  cities 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Invincible feat. Finale- "Locusts" (docu-music-video) // Current
"Detroit based Hip-Hop artists Invincible and Finale rhyme about the impacts of gentrification on the Motor City. This piece includes interviews with community activists discussing displacement and predatory planning versus sustainable development in the D." Also on YouTube in two parts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ixL3-AdOsU AND http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZmuCGen0-Q
detroit  gentrification  activism  cities  development  urban  urbanism 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Bohemian Sprawl Hits the Limits in Los Angeles - NYTimes.com
"The deep recession, with its lost jobs and falling home values nationwide, poses another kind of threat: to the character of neighborhoods settled by the young creative class, from the Lower East Side in Manhattan to Beacon Hill in Seattle. The tide of gentrification that transformed economically depressed enclaves is receding, leaving some communities high and dry.

For long-time residents, the return to pre-boom rents may be a blessing. But it also poses a rattling question of identity: What happens to bourgeois bohemia when the bourgeois part drops out?"
eaglerock  losangeles  gentrification  crisis  us  recession  neighborhoods  janejacobs  joelkotkin  bohemia 
february 2009 by robertogreco
The End of White Flight - WSJ.com
"For much of the 20th century, the proportion of whites shrank in most U.S. cities. In recent years the decline has slowed considerably -- and in some significant cases has reversed. Between 2000 and 2006, eight of the 50 largest cities, including Boston, Seattle and San Francisco, saw the proportion of whites increase, according to Census figures. The previous decade, only three cities saw increases.
via:javierarbona  population  demographics  development  cities  urban  culture  us  suburbia  race  rights  gentrification  class  society 
december 2008 by robertogreco
What Could Make Someone Want to Leave New York and Move to Buffalo? -- New York Magazine
"What could possibly make someone want to leave New York and move to Buffalo?" “I don’t miss my old life in New York. I only miss the life in New York I know I never would have had.”
buffalo  newyork  gentrification  realestate  urbanism  urban  creativeclass  economics  cities  renaissance  detroit 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Sweet Juniper! - They are listening
"For months the sound of heavy equipment knocking down those old Black Bottom bridges has started early each morning, the sound of the last traces of the old neighborhood churning into dust. Even in Detroit, where often there is no incentive to bury the past, history finds some way to disappear. It is bittersweet, I say, having loved what it was but also looking forward to what this new "safe" green space will mean for our neighborhood."
detroit  history  change  urban  parenting  gentrification  children  storytelling  neighborhoods 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Surprise from the streets: Art! | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press [via: http://www.core77.com/blog/object_culture/detroit_the_new_wild_west_for_creatives_8436.asp]
Not sure why this one wasn't marked last year..."Art is one of the last things outsiders associate with Detroit. But drive the streets and you quickly realize the city possesses an energetic, grassroots creative class that not only spreads color, whimsy and provocation across the landscape, but also serves as an engine of redevelopment."
detroit  art  design  urban  urbanism  cities  gentrification  optimism  future  green  collapse  urbandecay  archaeology  planning  architecture  ecotopia  postindustrial  urbanreclamation 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Metropolis POV » A Walk in the Park(s) [via: http://blog.wired.com/sterling/2008/08/detroit-the-ame.html]
"Two of the most exciting developments I saw in Detroit also embrace the city’s grit, but in much more intriguing ways. The Dequindre Cut is a one-mile remnant of a commuter rail line that ran from the suburbs into downtown until the early 1980s...Up the road is the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Located in an old automobile dealership, MOCAD sports a few requisite art gallery trappings—funky doors, sans serif signage, an organic cafe—but architect Andrew Zago eschewed any major renovations of the cavernous space."
detroit  urban  urbanism  cities  gentrification  optimism  future  green  collapse  urbandecay  archaeology  planning  architecture  design  ecotopia  postindustrial  urbanreclamation 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Detroit, the American Torino | Beyond the Beyond from Wired.com
"Creatives living like mice in the unsustainable ruins of 20th century industrialism. But maybe mice is the wrong metaphor. There's so much *green* here that it's starting to look like giant strangler-figs rising and cracking the sidewalks. The natives of Detroit and Torino have already been through the grinding hell of decline that's awaiting your city, which is why I consider them natives of the future. Living in the rubble of Henry Ford the way Italians live in the rubble of the Roman Empire."
detroit  torino  turin  cities  gentrification  optimism  green  collapse  urbandecay  urban  urbanism  archaeology  planning  architecture  design  future  ecotopia  postindustrial  urbanreclamation  brucesterling 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Last Call, Bohemia: Entertainment & Culture: vanityfair.com
"Every successful society needs its Bohemia, a haven for the artists, exiles, and misfits who regenerate the culture. With the heart of New York’s West Village threatened by developers, London, Paris, and San Francisco have a message for Manhattan: Don
architecture  art  cities  culture  via:kottke  neighborhoods  nyc  urban  media  life  creative  creativeclass  gentrification  society  bohemia  artists 
june 2008 by robertogreco
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