Published on February 24, 2014
Polarised City Stephen Graham Newcastle University
Neoliberal Ideas of Globalisa<on, Urban Change and Policy • Shi? away from socially progressive public services, tax policies, welfare stares, regional and urban planning of post WWII period based on ideas of egalitarian redistribu<on away from wealthy areas and communi<es to poorer ones • Shi? towards regressive tax policies, urban policies, welfare policies and planning based on suppor<ng elites and well-‐oﬀ groups and places whilst punishing and blaming poor ones as the causes of their own plight
Many Aspects of Polarisa<on • Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism • Priva<sa<on of infrastructure and public space • Economic shi?: small groups of very wealthy and widening popula<on living very insecure working lives, linked to ﬂexible service economy, in or around poverty • Ci<es as spectacles designed for outsider-‐consump<on and marke<ng and less for needs of the poor • From planning whole ci<es to ﬂagship ‘regenera<on’ projects and ‘tourist bubbles’ • ‘Revanchist city’ – ‘taking back’ ci<es and public spaces from poorer groups or those deemed to get in way of consump<on for middle class and wealthier groups • Gentriﬁca<on
Revanchist Public Space Policies • Away from the idea of universal rights of access to all ci<zens • ‘Zero tolerance’ policing to protect consumers • Intense CCTV • Priva<sed public and semipublic space • Aggressive security; bylaws; prohibi<ons; exclusion of homeless, beggars, skateboarders, teenagers and those seen to cause fear and anxiety to tourists and shoppers • Started in 1990s New York
Social and Spatial Polarisation ‘Gini’ coefficient – a measure of equality and inequality in societies. 0.00 = completely equal; 1.00 = completely unequal Below, in UK = AHC = ‘after housing costs; BHC= before housing costs
• • World Bank Economists noted in 2002 that “the richest 1 percent of people in the world get as much income as the poorest 57 percent.” • Startlingly, by 1988, the richest 5 percent of the world’s population had an average income 78 times greater than that of the poorest 5 percent. • Only five years later this has ridden to a multiple of 114. • At the same time, the poorest 5 of the world’s population actually percent grew poorer, losing 25 percent of their real income. • Milanovic, Branco ,’ True World Income Distribution, 1988 and 1993: First Calculations Based on Household Surveys Alone’" The Economic Journal, v. 112 (January), 2002, pp 51-92.
• By 2006 it was estimated that there were 10.1 million individuals around the world worth over $1 million, excluding the value of their homes, a growth of 6% from 2005. Each had, on average, over $4m. This ‘transnational capitalist class’ now constitute what Citigroup researchers call “the dominant drivers of demand” in many contemporary economies. They operate to skim the “cream off productivity surges and technology monopolies, then spend  their increasing shares of national wealth as fast as possible on luxury goods and services.” Kipper Williams, • Both quotes from Mike Davis and Daniel Monk, ‘Introduction,’ Mike Davis and Daniel Mon (Eds.), Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism, New York: New Press, 2007, pp. Xi.-xii. • For the richest 10 percent of the UK popula<on, incomes rose in real terms by 68 percent between 1979 and 1995. Their collec<ve income now matches that of the poorest 70% of the na<on For the richest 10 percent of the UK popula<on, incomes rose in real terms by 68 percent between 1979 and 1995. Their collec<ve income now matches that of the poorest 70% of the na<on
Urban Landscapes Increasingly Reﬂect This Polarisa<on: e.g. Liverpool One: Priva<sed City Centre Enclave
Business Improvement Districts; “Malls Without Walls”
Urban Dimensions: Polarised Urban Landscapes ‘Streets and Urban Public Spaces Growth of Private Consumption Enclaves
Bypass Public Streets: Hong Kong
Bypass Traditional Streets: Boston
Domestic Fortressing e.g. Post-Apartheid S. Africa
Post-Apartheid gating and Road Closures, Johannesburg
Gating now norm around many US cities (e.g. Phoenix)
More Aggressive and Self-Contained Automobiles
Proliferation of Private Security Forces
Global Offshoring of Elites (Offshore finance cities) Even Efforts at Complete Territorial Secession (e.g. Freedom Ship “The City at Sea”) see http:// www.freedomship.com/
Privatised Infrastructure Growth of Private, Charged Highways e.g. Highway 407 Toronto & US ‘EZ Pass’
New Elite Technology Districts e.g. Kuala Lumpur
Splintering of Key Financial Cores as ‘Security Zones’ e.g. London’s Ring of Steel
New communications grids ‘cherry pick’ only most lucrative spaces e.g. COLT in London
Global South Cities: Small elites gated enclaves surrounded by mass, informal city e.g. premium water pipes merely walking paths for Mumbai shanty dwellers
Durban, South Africa
4. Conclusion: • Neoliberal forms of globalisation are exacerbating social and geographic inequalities in all types of cities • Wealthier groups organising globalisation doing well, even in the crisis; many lower income groups struggling because of economic, technological and policy shifts • ‘Revanchist’ city increasingly hard-edged: Criminalises and excludes those who are ‘failed consumers’ ‘taking back’ city for wealthy consumers • Who’s City is it? How can more redistributive and progressive policy and planning solutions be brought back in the wake of the current crisis? • Social and spatial justice and democracy! The ‘right to the city’
Housing/ An< gentriﬁca<on/ an<-‐ neoliberalism Movements
An< Austerity/ Priva<sa<on Movements
Ethnic and Sexual Minority Movements
An< Surveillance Movements
By next week… • Read Atkinson, Macleod, and one other piece • Find an example of a social movement in a city aimed at ﬁgh<ng for social and spa<al jus<ce
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