Have Cities Abandoned The Poor And Middle Class?

A new book argues that most American cities have fully embraced neoliberal policies that encourage gentrification, privatization, and corporate invasion -- at the expense of lower- and middle-class residents.

"If you live in or near a big city, you may not realize that neoliberalism is fiendishly taking over your environ. No, it's not just the Starbucks by your office, or the Gap that just opened in the once-edgy neighborhood. It's also the high-rise condominium apartment building going up over the subway station, the new sports arena downtown, the industrial loft conversion, and even the brownstone getting flipped in that sketchy neighborhood."

"Jason Hackworth, an associate professor of geography and planning at the University of Toronto, has found a common theme among those trends -- gentrification, privatization, corporate invasion, and public-private revitalization projects -- that have come to symbolize renewal in America's urban core in recent years. In his new book, The Neoliberal City, he argues they are all manifestations of the international trend towards neoliberalism, which he defines as 'an ideological rejection of egalitarian liberalism in general and the Keynesian welfare state in particular, combined with a selective return to classical liberalism.'"

Full Story: Cities for Sale



Michael Lewyn's picture

no shortage of poor people

According to a recent Brookings report, at http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20061205_citysuburban.htm

"Nearly half of large cities nationwide saw a significant rise in their poverty rates, versus about one-third of their suburbs."

Even relatively prosperous cities have more poverty than their suburbs, for example:

Chicago 19.9% of residents living in poverty in city, 7.9% suburbs

Boston 21.4 city 7.6 suburbs

NYC 19.2 city 7.2 suburbs

Atlanta 26.9 city 10.0 suburbs

Portland 17.6 city 10.4 suburbs

-- you get the idea.

In other words, the notion that cities are driving out poor people is simply rubbish.

RE: no shortage of poor people

The author isn't claiming that neoliberal development policies many cities have embraced is pushing people out of cities completely. He's saying these policies promote gentrification of neighborhoods, thus pushing lower-income residents into other parts of the city away from downtown areas.

Same old

Some old class-baiting, class warfare cries used as an attack on cities. Only it's from the left this time, as opposed to Kotkin's attacks from the right.

In the author's eyes, it's the gentrifiers who are ruining the cities.

Perhaps our cities should be left to serve as nothing more than warehouses for the nations poor? How novel an idea! Bet that's never been thought up before...

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