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In this sweeping account, Christopher Mele analyzes the political and cultural forces that have influenced the development of this distinctive community. He describes late nineteenth-century notions of the Lower East Side as a place of entrenched poverty, ethnic plurality, political activism, and "low" culture that elicited feelings of revulsion and fear among the city's elite and middle classes. The resulting -- and ongoing -- struggle between government and residents over affordable and decent housing has in turn affected real estate practices and urban development policies.
Mele explores the ways that developers, media executives, and others have co-opted the area's characteristics -- analyzing the East Village as a "style provider" where what is being marketed is "difference." The result is a visionary look at how political and economic actions transform neighborhoods and at what happens when a neighborhood is what is being "consumed."
|1||The Struggle over Space||1|
|2||Different and Inferior: The Ghetto at the Turn of the Century||31|
|3||Utopian Metropolis versus the Legacy of the Slum||78|
|4||Reengineering the Ghetto: Ethnicity, Race, and Cultural Divisions in the 1950s||120|
|5||A Brief Psychedelic Detour: Hip Urban Renewal and the Invention of the East Village||153|
|6||Urban Malaise, Community Abandonment, and Underground Subcultures of Decay||180|
|7||Developing the East Village: Eighties Counterculture in the Service of Urban Capital||220|
|8||Targeting the Middle Class: Cultures of Resistance and Class Warfare||255|
|9||The Production of Desire: Urban Development and Community Resistance at the End of the Twentieth Century||281|