Polarised city

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Information about Polarised city
News & Politics

Published on February 24, 2014

Author: sdng1



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

Sao Paulo

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://

Privatised Infrastructure Growth of Private, Charged Highways e.g. Highway 407 Toronto & US ‘EZ Pass’

Congestion Charging  

Heathrow Express

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’

Social-­‐Ecological  Movements  

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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