...new book on gentrification outlines how local governments cede their power over residents’ lives to private interests.
To live in a city is to watch it change, sometimes quickly and in troubling ways. These changes, more often than not, are the product of decisions by city planners on which longtime residents often have little input or sway. This process is usually referred to with a commonly used term: gentrification. But there is no single answer to the questions of what gentrification really means, what causes it, who controls it, and how it actually changes neighborhoods and the people who live in them.
How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood, a new book by the journalist Peter Moskowitz, brings some much-needed clarity to thinking about a slippery concept. “While urban renewal, the suburbanization of cities, and other forms of capital creation are relatively easy to spot (a highway built through a neighborhood is a relatively obvious event), gentrification is more discreet, dispersed, and hands-off,” he writes. Moskowitz adds to the growing canon aimed at understanding and explaining the process of gentrification, and he not so subtly suggests that while gentrification naturally brings some improvements to a city,including more people and money, it also frequently kills some cultural traditions and diversity, the precise characteristics that make cities so dynamic and desirable in the first place.
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A timely read! If I could, I'd buy a copy of this book for every Council Member and the Mayor too.