Bloomberg's New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City

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New York mayor Michael Bloomberg claims to run the city like a business. In Bloomberg’s New York, Julian Brash applies methods from anthropology, geography, and other social science disciplines to examine what that means. He describes the mayor’s attitude toward governance as the Bloomberg Way—a philosophy that holds up the mayor as CEO, government as a private corporation, desirable residents and businesses as customers and clients, and the city itself as a product to be branded and marketed as a luxury good.


Commonly represented as pragmatic and nonideological, the Bloomberg Way, Brash argues, is in fact an ambitious reformulation of neoliberal governance that advances specific class interests. He considers the implications of this in a blow-by-blow account of the debate over the Hudson Yards plan, which aimed to transform Manhattan’s far west side into the city’s next great high-end district. Bringing this plan to fruition proved surprisingly difficult as activists and entrenched interests pushed back against the Bloomberg administration, suggesting that despite Bloomberg’s success in redrawing the rules of urban governance, older political arrangements—and opportunities for social justice—remain.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Brash persuasively argues that Michael Bloomberg's image as a 'CEO Mayor' who governs New York in a nonpolitical and nonideological way does not reflect the agenda behind 'Bloomberg's Way.'"—Choice

“A very substantial contribution to the study of politics and governance in New York City and to scholarship on urban development politics more generally. Brash’s ability to move gracefully between conceptual issues and empirical detail makes the book highly readable and even entertaining; the chapters on the Hudson Yards case, for example, should be required reading for courses on urban planning.”—William Sites, author of Remaking New York: Primitive Globalization and the Politics of Urban Community

“Brash’s insightful book provides the first thorough examination of the Bloomberg administration—increasingly touted as an example to follow by cities across the nation—and in so doing extricates the antidemocratic dimensions involved in the corporatization of urban government. Bloomberg’s New York should be immediately influential across urban studies disciplines.”—Arlene Dávila, author of Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City

"[B]rilliant. . . . Written with an academic audience in mind, the book uses a well-reported history of the Hudson Yards master plan/Olympics wet dream to lay out a devastating critique of the CEO mayor, his vision of the city as a product to be marketed, and citizens as passive consumers of it."—The Village Voice

“Brash’s detailed case study shows the strengths and weaknesses of the tactics and strategies adopted by community groups in circumstances that, while exceptional, can be easily analogized to those surrounding large-scale redevelopment projects in other strong real estate markets. . . . Brash himself recognizes that effective resistance against the Bloomberg Way must go beyond this unmasking; it must offer an alternative linking of governance, urban imaginary, and class.”—Juan Rivero, Journal of Planning Education and Research

Bloomberg’s New York is both a powerful and nuanced argument for undertaking detailed empirical analysis of urban economics and governance under neoliberalism.”—Kristina E. Gibson, Social and Cultural Geography

"The book is a piece of solid scholarship. . . . This would make a good reader in a course on contemporary urban governance and is a valuable resource for any scholar interested in neoliberal urban governance, urban imaginaries, and the relationship of class formation and mobilization to neoliberal governance." —Steven L. Driever, Historical Geography

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Julian Brash is assistant professor of anthropology at Montclair State University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1. The Neoliberalization of Governance in New York City
Chapter 2. Electing the CEO Mayor
Chapter 3. Running Government Like a Business
Chapter 4. The Luxury City
Chapter 5. The Bloomberg Way
Chapter 6. Far West Side Stories
Chapter 7. Why the RPA Mattered
Chapter 8. The Logic of Investment
Chapter 9. The Bloomberg Way and Its Others


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