Urban Addendum

City planning finds its validation in the intuitive recognition that a burgeoning market society can not be trusted to produce spontaneously a habitable, sanitary, or even efficient city, much less a beautiful one. - Murray Bookchin, The Limits of the City (1986).

Cities nowadays are increasingly using culture as an economic base. In the U.S. and Western Europe there is a tendency to return to the city center with focus on the processes of consumption and leisure accompanied by the appearance of new residents and users of the space. The use of culture and the development of cultural industries has created spaces that are either a result of organic growth (for example the movement of artists or small usually art related companies in abandoned industrial areas - Markusen(2006) argues that artists are not responsible for gentrification phenomena as usually are also victims of the displacement) or have been reformed based on urban regeneration programs and large culture based development projects (for example the Guggenheim museum at Bilbao,Spain or the Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz in Berlin). Governments use the place branding of cities to emphasize their special knowledge-based products and services. This regional economic geography provided the perfect storm for the collision of the local with the global. Competition between cities became intense and cities try to attract economic investments, tourists  and talented labor pools. These labor pools are mainly connected with Florida's theory of the creative class or the generation of "Yuppies" consisting of young professionals working in the corporate sector (white collars), high education with sophisticated consumption patterns.

So the planners try to provide amenities necessary for happy and productive creative workers. However, these kind of strategies contribute to 'social displacement' of the lower socio-economic classes by higher socio-economic classes that are characterized by relative wealth and distinguished tastes, and are attracted by the diverse cultural scene, and the historic urban form. These groups move to the center of the cities promoting the creation of clusters of culture and recreation, accompanied with "alternative" high-standard residential areas (like lofts that are often converted for residential use from industrial use). They are typical drivers of later stage gentrification and as they occupy the space, they use the cultural power of fear,  to implement high surveillance and high security measures that leads to the privatization of the space.

The "gentrified" Greenwich Village" in NY, is the most heavily surveilled neighborhood in Manhattan. The residential area had more cameras (371) than any other area (even the business districts). There are, many more cameras in West Village than there are in Midtown Manhattan (284), Times Square (258), or the United Nations (179).

Markusen, Ann. (2006). Urban Development and Politics of a Creative Class: Evidence from the Study of Artists. Environment and Planning A, 38 (10), pp.1921- 1940.


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