Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Opportunity for the Gentrifiers

This short n+1 piece entitled "Gentrify, Gentrify," interesting if at times annoyingly oracular, ends with a call to action:

With the arrival of the crisis—a crisis of gentriļ¬cation among other things—there is an opening for the development of a coherent, positive vision of city life. In intellectual and activist circles, this vision has already begun to crystallize around a slogan borrowed from Henri Lefebvre: le droit de la ville, or the right to the city. For if our civilization has a future, it lies in the city—the only form of habitation that can sustain a global population that would otherwise overrun the land—and it is a future to which everyone must have a right. This is also the right to produce the city: to be the equal of every urban citizen, equally responsible for and capable of making and sharing urban space. Students at Berkeley once claimed People's Park in the name of this right; today, organizers halt evictions, help squatters to claim foreclosed homes, and lobby for expanded public housing. And yet, truth be told, the right to the city remains a somewhat vague slogan, whose more precise meaning we will also have to build. For the moment, its signal utility is to reclaim urban life for politics.... The gentriļ¬ers now have the opportunity to recognize themselves as what they are—the dominated members of a dominant class—with the power to ally with the displaced.

(Thanks to Steve M. for the link.)

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