A Look at the New Book Naked City

Posted on: February 26th, 2010 at 10:54 am by

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The website Popmatters reviews sociologist Sharon Zukin’s new book, Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places.  It is an examination which expounds on the lifetime work of activist Jane Jacobs.  Of how overdevelopment and gentrification are transforming, and often destroying, city neighborhoods.  Here are some excerpts from the article:

Yonah Schimmel is also the site of one of my favorite cultural mash ups. A few years ago, the neighborhood started going upscale. The New Museum of Contemporary Art relocated from SoHo to an avant-garde structure on the Bowery nearby. Rents started going up. A Landmark Theater multiplex showing first-run art films and a new ultramodern Howard Johnson’s hotel moved in, flanking the knishery on either side. Svelte fashionistas, dressed from head to toe in black, sporting the logos of Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and such, started dropping in for a bite before and after show times.

And, on the East Village…

The East Village’s legacy as a bohemian enclave going back to the time of the Beats and continuing with the hippies and then the punks has set the stage for an explosion of lifestyle consumerism. What is consistent in each case is the reliance on the private sector to manage what was once seen as the responsibility of government on the public’s behalf, which in striving to appeal to commercial interests has threatened the local character of these areas as they have undergone ‘revitalization’.

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