While the mainstream media publishes style pieces about mustached hipsters brewing craft beers in warehouses in Brooklyn, global businessmen are remaking entire cities. While new coffee shops open for business in previously affordable neighborhoods, residents ignore the multi-million-dollar tax giveaways that have enabled real estate developers to build skyscrapers on top of brownstones.
As journalist Peter Moskowitz shows in How to Kill a City, gentrification is not a fad or a trend. Hipsters and yuppies have more buying power than the neighbors they often displace, but individual actors cannot control housing markets and remake cities on their own. Nor can gentrification be fully explained by developers either: while they might have similar interests, the part-time house flipper who owns five houses in New Orleans and the condo owner in Detroit do not coordinate policy with each other. There’s a losing side and a winning side in gentrification, but both sides are playing the same gamethey are not its designers.
How to Kill a City uncovers the massive, systemic, capitalist forces that push poor people out of cities and lure the young “creative class.” Gentrification, Moskowitz argues, is the logical consequence of racist, historic housing policies and the inevitable result of a neoliberalized economy: with little federal funding for housing, transportation, or anything else, American cities are now forced to rely completely on their tax base to fund basic services, and the richer a city’s tax base, the easier those services are to fund.
Moskowitz writes about four citiesNew Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New Yorkand captures the lives that have been altered by gentrification. He also identifies the policies and policymakers who paved the way for the remaking of these cities. When we think of gentrification of some mysterious, inevitable process, we accept its consequences: the displacement of countless thousands of families, the destruction of cultures, the decreased affordability of life for everyone. How to Kill a City serves as a counterweight to hopelessness about the future of urban America that enables readers to see cities are shaped by powerful interests, and that if we identify those interests, we can begin to control them.
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Peter Moskowitz is a freelance journalist who has covered a wide variety of issues, from environmental disasters to the vestiges of racist urban planning. A former staff writer at Al Jazeera America, he has written for the Guardian, the New York Times, The New Republic, Wired, Slate, BuzzFeed, and many others. He is a graduate of Hampshire College and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Hew Orleans 13
Chapter 1 Hanging On 15
Chapter 2 How Gentrification Works 31
Chapter 3 Destroy to Rebuild 45
Part 2 Detroit 71
Chapter 4 The New Detroit 73
Chapter 5 The 7.2 91
Chapter 6 How the Slate Got Blank 105
Part 3 San Francisco 123
Chapter 7 The Gentrified City 125
Chapter 8 Growth Machine 137
Chapter 9 The New Geography of Inequality 147
Part 4 New York 161
Chapter 10 An Elegy 163
Chapter 11 New York Is Not Meant for People 181
Chapter 12 Fight Back 197
Conclusion Toward an Un-Gentrified Future 209