The Myth Of Gentrification

Urban revival is about recreating our nostalgia for the 1950's, but gentrified neighborhoods resemble a suburban subdivision more than an old city block, writes Michael Johns in The New York Times.
January 5, 2004, 5am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Today's cities copy those of 50 or more years ago because the 1950's was the last time cities had busy downtowns and strong neighborhoods... American cities will never again be as vital as they were during the first half of the 20th century. That is why cities are prime objects of nostalgia in our very nostalgic age. And what better way to modernize the objects of our nostalgia than by recreating old cities to attract large numbers of young professionals?... City planners try to reinstate the past on a larger scale... Despite all these retro forms, the culture of loft districts and gentrified neighborhoods resembles that of a suburban subdivision much more than an old city block... Loft districts and gentrified neighborhoods have been transformed so quickly, and by such similar kinds of people, that they are often as homogeneous, with respect to age, race, income and education, as a 50's suburb."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Sunday, January 4, 2004 in The New York Times
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