New Globalism, New Urbanism: Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy

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Abstract:

This paper uses several events in New York in the late 1990s to launch two central arguments about the changing relationship between neoliberal urbanism and so–called globalization. First, much as the neoliberal state becomes a consummate agent of—rather than a regulator of—the market, the new revanchist urbanism that replaces liberal urban policy in cities of the advanced capitalist world increasingly expresses the impulses of capitalist production rather than social reproduction. As globalization bespeaks a rescaling of the global, the scale of the urban is recast. The true global cities may be the rapidly growing metropolitan economies of Asia, Latin America, and (to a lesser extent) Africa, as much as the command centers of Europe, North America and Japan. Second, the process of gentrification, which initially emerged as a sporadic, quaint, and local anomaly in the housing markets of some command–center cities, is now thoroughly generalized as an urban strategy that takes over from liberal urban policy. No longer isolated or restricted to Europe, North America, or Oceania, the impulse behind gentrification is now generalized; its incidence is global, and it is densely connected into the circuits of global capital and cultural circulation. What connects these two arguments is the shift from an urban scale defined according to the conditions of social reproduction to one in which the investment of productive capital holds definitive precedence.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8330.00249

Affiliations: City University of New York, US Nsmith@gc.cuny.edu

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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