The Creative Destruction of New York City Engineering the City for the Elite

Review :

---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. --- What a well-researched & referenced piece of work this is. Easily could be expanded to textbook size. Could also be used as is for teaching, or to pull references from for deeper research & extrapolation. As it is though, it's just right for consumption by those interested in city planning, activist work involving governments & the use of public space &/or citizen input into community building, or anyone interested in the general workings of capitalism. More specifically, by addressing the ways that capital is used as power to alter shared landscapes, this book also addresses how capitalism, doing what it does, leads the intentional change of space, both private & public, known as home. You know, that place where you live...where we all live. Cities are the most obvious examples as their relatively larger scale renders changes in structure vastly more apparent, but on differing scales it eventually happens to communities of all sizes. In this book, New York City is taken as a test case to demonstrate the effects of capital on what is effectively the very physical structure of our lives. As such, there is naturally a power imbalance that must be addressed. Any people not living in a cave, & perhaps even they, are aware of the increasing spread of changes effecting space & use. Commonly these changes are known by the ripple effect their end results have in local neighborhoods, collectively referred to as, "gentrification." To understand how & why these things happen, one is forced to look at the conjoined working of politics/government with capital, & the power games at play. An ugly business, to be sure, but there it is. There are reasons the machine chugs onward, no matter who is put in office. Due to the larger issues examined, one need not necessarily be familiar with NYC & its layout or inner workings. Such familiarity may lend an added layer of interest to the reader, but really any familiarity with any city will do, even if it's a small one. Some readers may not be interested in the particulars of certain areas, as there are spots in the reading where numerical break-downs may become heavy. No worries. Just skip that bit. So long as you get the idea, you're good. Readers that really just want the highlights of the larger ideas & players involved would do well to focus on chapters 2 & 6, entitled "How Capital Shapes Our Cities," and "The Power Branders of New York City," respectively. Those chapters are where most of my notes & highlighted points were marked, & they do a great job of laying things out. I fully expect any work such as this that takes a thorough & honest account what is going on in our shared world to get some kind of blow-back. People who benefit from the status quo power structure, or those committed to certain ideologies, are always going to try to tear down any kind of examination of their webs. I mean, whatever you do, Dorothy, don't look behind the curtain. Take away lesson from the Afterword, p. 237: "No corner is off limits to capital. ..."


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