How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood

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A journey to the front lines of the battle for the future of American cities, uncovering the massive, systemic forces behind gentrification--and the lives that are altered in the process.
The term gentrification has become a buzzword to describe the changes in urban neighborhoods across the country, but we don't realize just how threatening it is. It means more than the arrival of trendy shops, much-maligned hipsters, and expensive lattes. The very future of American cities as vibrant, equitable spaces hangs in the balance.

Peter Moskowitz's How to Kill a City takes readers from the kitchen tables of hurting families who can no longer afford their homes to the corporate boardrooms and political backrooms where destructive housing policies are devised. Along the way, Moskowitz uncovers the massive, systemic forces behind gentrification in New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New York. The deceptively simple question of who can and cannot afford to pay the rent goes to the heart of America's crises of race and inequality. In the fight for economic opportunity and racial justice, nothing could be more important than housing.

A vigorous, hard-hitting expose, How to Kill a City reveals who holds power in our cities-and how we can get it back

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About the author

Peter Moskowitz is a freelance journalist who has covered a wide variety of issues, from environmental disasters to the vestiges of racist urban planning. A former staff writer for Al Jazeera America, they have written for the Guardian, New York Times, NewYorker.com, New Republic, Wired, Slate, Buzzfeed, Splinter, VICE, and many others. They are a graduate of Hampshire College and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Moskowitz's next book will be about free speech and fascism. They live in Philadelphia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bold Type Books
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Published on
Mar 7, 2017
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781568585246
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
Political Science / Public Policy / Regional Planning
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Political opinions and the behavior of individuals cannot be explained apart from the environments within which they occur. Individual characteristics alone do not determine political actions and opinions. Rather, political behavior must be understood in terms of the actor's relationship to the environment, and the environmental factors that impinge on individual choice. (From the Introduction) The central argument of this book is that neighborhood social contexts have important political consequences, not only for individual behavior but also for the political vitality of groups in the political process. This argument has nothing to do with suburbanization, or with the embourgeoisement thesis as it is traditionally constructed. The embourgeoisement explanation for the disappearance of class politics argues that improved working conditions, better pay, and suburban living create a working class that is infused by middle class values and a middle class lifestyle. Especially in terms of residential location, a suburban residence produces changed values and, along with these changed values, an entirely different set of political viewpoints. The embourgeoisement viewpoint has been attacked on a number of fronts. OC T]he move to suburbia did not necessarily result in the inculcation of middle class values, or in the rise of Republicanism, or in the diminution of class loyalty. The present effort does not dispute these results: there is no reason to believe that individual affluence or suburban residence should necessarily diminish class loyalties or political differentiation along class lines. It is argued that: (1) social class politics is, first and foremost, group politics (Hamilton, 1972); (2) group politics cannot be explained on the basis of individual interests and predispositions alone; and thus (3) the social contexts of group members must be taken into account in order to explain group politics. The important point is that group membership and group politics should not be wholly conceived as the consequence of individual characteristics and individual circumstances. Belonging to a group involves patterns of relations that bind the individual to the group: the very words provoke an image of strong social ties."
"ESSENTIAL READING FOR FANS OF JANE JACOBS, JOSEPH MITCHELL, PATTI SMITH, LUC SANTE AND CHEAP PIEROGI."--VANITY FAIR

An unflinching chronicle of gentrification in the twenty-first century and a love letter to lost New York by the creator of the popular and incendiary blog Vanishing New York.

For generations, New York City has been a mecca for artists, writers, and other hopefuls longing to be part of its rich cultural exchange and unique social fabric. But today, modern gentrification is transforming the city from an exceptional, iconoclastic metropolis into a suburbanized luxury zone with a price tag only the one percent can afford.

A Jane Jacobs for the digital age, blogger and cultural commentator Jeremiah Moss has emerged as one of the most outspoken and celebrated critics of this dramatic shift. In Vanishing New York, he reports on the city’s development in the twenty-first century, a period of "hyper-gentrification" that has resulted in the shocking transformation of beloved neighborhoods and the loss of treasured unofficial landmarks. In prose that the Village Voice has called a "mixture of snark, sorrow, poeticism, and lyric wit," Moss leads us on a colorful guided tour of the most changed parts of town—from the Lower East Side and Chelsea to Harlem and Williamsburg—lovingly eulogizing iconic institutions as they’re replaced with soulless upscale boutiques, luxury condo towers, and suburban chains.

Propelled by Moss’ hard-hitting, cantankerous style, Vanishing New York is a staggering examination of contemporary "urban renewal" and its repercussions—not only for New Yorkers, but for all of America and the world.

A hard-hitting expose that shines a light on the powerful conservative forces that have waged a multi-decade battle to hijack the meaning of free speech--and how we can reclaim it.
There's a critical debate taking place over one of our most treasured rights: free speech. We argue about whether it's at risk, whether college students fear it, whether neo-Nazis deserve it, and whether the government is adequately upholding it.

But as P. E. Moskowitz provocatively shows in The Case Against Free Speech, the term has been defined and redefined to suit those in power, and in recent years, it has been captured by the Right to push their agenda. What's more, our investment in the First Amendment obscures an uncomfortable truth: free speech is impossible in an unequal society where a few corporations and the ultra-wealthy bankroll political movements, millions of voters are disenfranchised, and our government routinely silences critics of racism and capitalism.

Weaving together history and reporting from Charlottesville, Skokie, Standing Rock, and the college campuses where student protests made national headlines, Moskowitz argues that these flash points reveal more about the state of our democracy than they do about who is allowed to say what.

Our current definition of free speech replicates power while dissuading dissent, but a new ideal is emerging. In this forcefully argued, necessary corrective, Moskowitz makes the case for speech as a tool--for exposing the truth, demanding equality, and fighting for all our civil liberties.
A New York Times Notable Book of 2016
Winner of the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize

On March 29, 1516, the city council of Venice issued a decree forcing Jews to live in il geto—a closed quarter named for the copper foundry that once occupied the area. The term stuck.

In this sweeping and original account, Mitchell Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its beginnings in the sixteenth century and its revival by the Nazis to the present. As Duneier shows, we cannot comprehend the entanglements of race, poverty, and place in America today without recalling the ghettos of Europe, as well as earlier efforts to understand the problems of the American city.

Ghetto is the story of the scholars and activists who tried to achieve that understanding. As Duneier shows, their efforts to wrestle with race and poverty cannot be divorced from their individual biographies, which often included direct encounters with prejudice and discrimination in the academy and elsewhere. Using new and forgotten sources, Duneier introduces us to Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake, graduate students whose conception of the South Side of Chicago established a new paradigm for thinking about Northern racism and poverty in the 1940s. We learn how the psychologist Kenneth Clark subsequently linked Harlem’s slum conditions with the persistence of black powerlessness, and we follow the controversy over Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family. We see how the sociologist William Julius Wilson redefined the debate about urban America as middle-class African Americans increasingly escaped the ghetto and the country retreated from racially specific remedies. And we trace the education reformer Geoffrey Canada’s efforts to transform the lives of inner-city children with ambitious interventions, even as other reformers sought to help families escape their neighborhoods altogether.

Duneier offers a clear-eyed assessment of the thinkers and doers who have shaped American ideas about urban poverty—and the ghetto. The result is a valuable new estimation of an age-old concept.

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