Thursday, July 24, 2008
Politics as Puppetry has an essay today titled New York City Anti-Gentrification Movements - A Catalog of Failure
Rising rents in New York are driven by the cultural product of the city - the skyline and nightlife sold in dozens of movies, hundreds of TV show episodes, and by the government of New York itself. That image has gone global, and makes it possible for foreign investors to pour capital into the city by puchasing buildings wholesale (as is happening in el Barrio), or buying up apartments for vacations (as is happening… well, everywhere). Cheap rents and rent control made New York’s globe-spanning cultural products possible in the first place. (think grafitti, Jay-z, SoHo artist lofts, Punk Rock, New York’s literary avant guarde, etc.) Fair housing and anti-gentrification movements will only get off the ground and into serious change by starting with the popular idea of New York and using those cultural norms against the rapid transformation of New York City into a playground of the rich.