The High Line as Symbol of 'Severe Economic Inequality'

A recent article in Salon cites the High Line as perhaps the most conspicuous example of how municipal governments are subsidizing wealthy corporate or private interests while many citizens continue to suffer low wages and benefits.
David Berkowitz / Flickr

In explaining some of the unacknowledged costs and causes of gentrification, Sally Kohn cites the example of a new residential building near the High Line in New York City: “In a glittering new building at 540 West 28th Street, a 700-square-foot one-bedroom apartment just sold for $1.3 million. Manuel Matos, a concierge in the building, makes just $12 an hour and has no health insurance. Matos also lives in a one-bedroom apartment — one he shares with his parents almost an hour’s commute away from work.”

Kohn’s larger point is that cities are subsidizing the wealthy while leaving low income residents in the lurch. “Cities that didn’t have enough money to spend on parks in poor neighborhoods or pensions for public employees suddenly have enough money to subsidize corporate office parks and stadiums,” writes Kohn, who also cites a New York Times article that such deals often do not produce the benefits they optimistically hoped for.

A final, provocative point by Kohn: “The not-so-hidden message of gentrification is that there is always plenty of money to go around, even public money, for the whims of the rich.”

Full Story: Gentrification’s quiet tragedy: How sweetheart deals are brutalizing the public

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95