ePUB Sharon Zukin ✓ ePUB Naked City The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places ✓ construyamos.co

As cities have gentrified educated urbanites have come to prize what they regard as authentic urban life aging buildings art galleries small boutiues upscale food markets neighborhood old timers funky ethnic restaurants and old family owned shops These signify a place's authenticity in contrast to the bland standardization of the suburbs and exurbs But as Sharon Zukin shows in Naked City the rapid and pervasive demand for authenticity evident in escalating real estate prices expensive stores and closely monitored urban streetscapes has helped drive out the very people who first lent a neighborhood its authentic aura immigrants the working class and artists Zukin traces this economic and social evolution in six archetypal New York areas Williamsburg Harlem the East Village Union Suare Red Hook and the city's community gardens and travels to both the city's first IKEA store and the World Trade Center site She shows that for followers of Jane Jacobs this transformation is a perversion of what was supposed to happen Indeed Naked City is a sobering update of Jacobs' legendary 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities Like Jacobs Zukin looks at what gives neighborhoods a sense of place but argues that over time the emphasis on neighborhood distinctiveness has become a tool of economic elites to drive up real estate values and effectively force out the neighborhood characters that Jacobs so evocatively idealized This is scholarship with its boots on the ground challenging us to look at the familiar in a new light The Boston Globe A highly readable narrativea revelation no matter where you live The Austin Chronicle Provocative San Francisco Chronicle

10 thoughts on “Naked City The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

  1. says:

    A curiously uninformative look at the gentrification of a selection of New York neighbourhoods heavy on local detail so much so it gets pretty boring but low on analysis The history of each area's gentrification is studied closely but there's no real attempt to see where it might be heading or what it means for larger society An emphasis on food and the idea of authenticity as a driving force behind gentrification is interesting but there's no acknowledgement of the complex political and psychological reasons for this I was left wondering if gentrification is a big enough subject for a book this length I'm sure it is in better hands

  2. says:

    Sharon Zukin is certainly a talented observer and this is a good addendum to the writings of Jane Jacobs for anyone who's studied how cities become what they are Especially in the way Jacobs' vision of cities has become perverted since the '60s by dipshit developers who really are the Robert Moseses Mosi? of our timeSo she studies a set of New York neighborhoods and how authenticity is constructed there The major flaw in her analysis is the way she interprets authenticity as being constructed in a certain way While her intentions are excellent and she tries pretty hard her viewpoint is still largely mired in privileged class assumptions about what authenticity is So I suppose keep that in mind

  3. says:

    From my master's thesis academic language alert a uick rundown of this bookSharon Zukin’s introduction to Naked City 2009 articulates a dialectic relationship between the search for “authentic origins” and the desire for ever upscale urban consumption Zukin’s study subtitled “the death and life of authentic urban places” cautions urbanists from pursuing a “feeling” of authenticity – small cafes historic buildings active sidewalk life – without careful attention to the nuanced cultural ecology of existing residents Without such attention policy makers designers and developers risk destroying livelihoods and social capital that has been tenuously and passionately cultivated or at least hung on to for generations As Zukin continues to explore the role of authenticity in the “upscaling” of New York City she finds that authenticity in fact fuels a new kind of upscaling in which “the experience of origins sic” becomes a component of the city’s pro affluence policies such as “preserving historic buildings and districts encouraging the development of small scale boutiues and cafes and branding neighborhoods in terms of distinctive cultural identities” p 2 In this process “authenticity has little to do with origins and a lot to do with style;” a symbolic object of consumption that represents taste uniueness a clear indicator of prestige and luxury in our mass produced society “Any group that insists on the authenticity of its own tastes in contrast to others’ can claim moral superiority” in this system argues Zukin Through this process as she describes minority and working class neighborhoods traditional shops industrial districts and working waterfronts become an instrument of economic and cultural power rather than places of oppositional identity or economic opportunityZukin traces the mechanisms by which heritage working class origins and racial diversity becomes branded as “cool” in a number of New York neighborhoods and comes upon another process through which “authenticity” is claimed by wealthy or educated new residents the culture of “grittiness” In her study of the transformation of Brooklyn she traces the evolution of the word “gritty” in American culture from the mid 20th century when it referred to the “style and substance offilm noir movies ” through the 1970s when it described “factory towns and urban neighborhoods that were sueezed by plant shutdowns” p 51 to the present The present definition which identifies “‘gritty’ with a direct experience of life ” began with the vogue for Brooklyn’s “art galleries performance spaces and artisanal beer” in the mid 1990s conflating “former industrial neighborhoods” the frontier of urban development and cultural excitement with this single word p 52 Grittiness then is a fundamentally aesthetic concept representing the visual cues of urban decay and post industrial “blight” as instruments for constructing the cultural cache of the authentic Zukin goes out of her way to reiterate that authenticity does not have to do with existing people or practices and that it may indeed not even derive from an accurate understanding of the past of a place Rather authenticity is constructed by new residents of a neighborhood based on the gritty aesthetics that they have inherited – or likely selected – and appropriated in order to define an elite cultural image This process begins with “hipster” colonization in search of affordable rents flexible spaces and industrial chic and then is followed by the approval of connoisseurs and cultural elite such as the art dealers and critics in Brooklyn and finally the establishment of a “brand” of authenticity that is produced and consumed as a luxury good by a general public Because authenticity as Zukin understands it has little relationship to existing residents or fully understood history then the establishment of authentic looking places and neighborhoods must be understood not as a preservation learning or euity driven practice but rather as an economic development and even colonization one facilitated by government policies for the purpose of growing their tax base

  4. says:

    Zukin clearly knows her stuff when it comes to NYC gentrification processes but her approach is rather harsh and her proximity and direct involvement in the neighborhood doesn't allow for objectivity or enough distance from the subject matter

  5. says:

    Adds important lens of authenticity to the discussion of who creates and owns urban neighborhoods Examines places as seen by gentrifier hipsters and bloggers who use the experience of consumption food pupusas from vendors in Red Hook to mark a place as being authentic not manufactured by private developers a city is authentic if it can create the experience of origins This is done by preserving historic buildings and districts encouraging the development of small scale boutiues and cafesand branding neighborhoods in terms of distinctive cultural identities 3Which contrasts with the idea of a city has having origins suggests instead a moral right to the city that enables people to put down roots This is the right to inhabit a space not just to consume it as an experience 6Can you have a corporate city and an urban village? this creates what Zukin sees as a crisis of authenticity If middle class values and tastes dominate the cultural representations of cities and is used as a message for continued growth then how does that connect with the democratic notion of cities as being home to diverse groups

  6. says:

    I was hoping to REALLY like this book I love New York I love authentic places I love thinking about how gentrificationmodernizationdevelopmentcultural density can shape a city Yet even by non fiction standards it never drew me in and I was never really convinced of whatever I was supposed to be convinced of maybe because I couldn't ever follow one thesis through the incredibly long sentences and lengthy tangents Summary Authentic gritty old artistic cheap delicious dense detailed places when safe attract lots of people and lots of money until they get too expensive to allow any of the people who made them authentic in the first place to stay andor the buildings get destroyed because people want to live in this authentic place that is no longer authentic This is an interesting complement to the book

  7. says:

    I liked it a lot probably a lot because I just moved here and so feel like I have to absorb as much NYC as possible as fast as possibleI also liked how she framed the uestions that we as gentrifiersif you fall in that category who don't want to be negatively labeled as gentrifiers make and support the choices that change our community I would love some solutions I thought the conclusion was a bit watered downbut at to me I appreciated the history of how soho came to be a shopping mall and why I don't always enjoy the Village

  8. says:

    Well I wanted something substantial than the abysmal Penelope and this is certainly that I may be creeping through this for many weeks rather than reading it straight through with nothing else in between It's really fascinating but a leetle bit dry

  9. says:

    The first hundred fifty pages are cringe worthy Then there is some interesting journalistic stuff on Red Hook and community gardens Then you're done and you return the book to the store

  10. says:

    The subtitle of Sharon Zukin’s book “The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places” puts her work directly in line with Jane Jacobs’s work echoing the title of Jacobs’s most famous book Zukin isn’t concerned as much about keeping neighborhoods and towns alive as making them feel alive making them remain true to their soul She sees a city’s soul as being bound around the concept of authenticity and worries that towns are becoming less authentic the that they gentrifyI have big problems with her idea of authenticity problems that she herself admits to in her introduction In defining authenticity she tries to tie the concept into one of origins An authentic neighborhood is one somehow in touch with its origins Thus a chain store has little to do with a neighborhood and is not tied in with the origins of the people in it and thus not authentic This seems simple in itself The issue I have is that what we view as “authentic” is itself a construct which she admits Our authentic city is the one that was there when we first lived in the area Thus Athens Georgia where I live should have a somewhat derelict downtown on the west side because that’s how it was when I arrived Now fifteen years later that portion of downtown is thriving in fact the entire downtown district is thriving There are no longer many abandoned buildings and many of the places I would go my local friends would go are gone In their place are some higher priced alternatives a few chains a few stores aimed at younger people people who are the age I was when I moved here Go back a generation or two before I arrived and this portion of downtown was the Hot Corner an African American sector of downtown only one of whose businesses still exists a barbershop Shouldn’t the “authentic” version of this portion of town then be black? Or could we go back before that to a time when this sector was housing and not part of a business district at all? What is the “origin”? What is authentic? It’s all a matter of perspectiveDespite that criticism her critiue of gentrification and her observations about it in the case studies she does of neighborhoods in New York is fascinating and shows that there is a certain cause for concern Gentrification comes at price and any given sector of town goes through a cycle one explained years ago in a human geography course I took Perhaps the neighborhood is largely one of immigrants from Ireland As they grow prosperous they tend to move out or to change the neighborhood itself Perhaps another set of immigrants moves in Italians In seeking “authenticity” some kind of uniue experience one can’t get elsewhere in the city hipsters and artists begin to visit the Italian neighborhood It’s relatively cheap too so some move there from expensive districts Soon there’s a thriving hipsterart scene among the architecture forged by previous rounds of immigrant families As the neighborhood becomes and popular commercial elements begin to move in to be a part of it eventually making it too expensive for the artists who made the neighborhood thrive The Italian uotient is long since gone as is what made the neighborhood actually uniue It’s lost its “soul” But are commercial ventures necessarily soulless? I ask Aren’t bright lit signs and lots of business a sort of spirit inhabiting a district making it what it is? And when this grows dull then the area will lose popularity and the poor andor immigrant populations will return and the cycle will start afreshWilliams begins her case study with Williamsburg in Brooklyn Once an immigrant district for Poles it was discovered by musicians and artists and became a kind of haven for them from Manhattan which had become too expensive With time as hipster cafes have populated the area higher rents and commercial ventures have moved in and is now beginning to push the artists out We lost the Polish vibe and now the hipster vibe is losing steam tooNext Zukin goes to Harlem the famous black neighborhood Here she sees an example of a case where the local community and government agents colluded to actually change the neighborhood As residents worked to get businesses to move to the area the very success of the work has led to them being priced out of the neighborhood Now white folks are moving in enjoying the localoriginary soul food as well as the new ethnic eateries that have moved in to take advantage of the wealthier clienteleShe then turns her attention to the East Village an area that has historically included a number of lower class elements and artistic elements attracted by the lower cost of living This vibe has attracted an ever expensive set of commercial forces which in turn has caused much of what made the village at any one time its uniue self to be shut down in favor of the well to do The cycle is one that is moving to ever pricey ventures and to ever standardizationIn the second half of the book Zukin looks at ventures than she looks at neighborhoods She starts with Union Suare telling its history as a center for social protest and community gathering The area fell into disrepute however sometime after World War II as the city lacked resources to police it and care for it Local businesses stepped to the fore and created a business improvement district to take care of the park For a small fee raised by themselves on themselves and paid to the city but fed back to them for the park they are able to hire park caretakers and make decisions about how the park should look The issue is that these caretakers are private businesses so what was once a public park in some sense is now a private venture Private security forces decide who should be able to gather and protest; parts of the park are sold off for a restaurant venture that the “public” can enjoy And so on We have then the privatization of the commons but one that makes the park safe again and a place of destination Which is preferred? A dangerous public park that is open to less welcome sectors of society or a semiprivate safe one that is closed off to those whose voices already are repressed?Next we move to an area of Brooklyn where Ikea built a new store and where Hispanic immigrants gather each weekend to play soccer and sell authentic Latin American food Folks had problems with the traffic Ikea would generate and other ways in which the chain was not “true” to the area And yet it has brought with it jobs and interest in a derelict part of town Meanwhile the immigrant food stands in the park each weekend offer locals good ethnic cuisine As time has gone on however the clientele has changed Whereas early on the food was made mostly for other immigrants now a large chunk of the customers are curious foodies from other parts of the city And as that has happened the cuisine has changed as well to appeal to the new audience “Authenticity” is slowly being lost And the city itself is now cracking down on the food makers insisting they follow regulationsCommunity gardens get their share of attention in this book as well Created often in areas that had little development or were actually becoming dis developed during New York’s days on the skid the gardens became centers for local residents to get good local produce However not being the landowners as the city has gentrified and the real estate come under demand many such gardens have been pushed off the land in favor of redevelopment Now the poor are less taken care of; and for those from the middle class who enjoyed the local produce an “authentic” portion of the community is being lost to high risesThe overall tendency Zukin points to is toward homogenization at the city level As cities aim to brand themselves as cool places and of them offer similar experiences Every city of note has a modern art museum for example I would contend however that that is not necessarily a bad thing Local residents should have access to similar conveniences and experiences One should not have to travel to New York City for art And the differences between art museums would still remain this city has that artwork this other city has that other artwork such that people will still travel to destinations because there is still difference There is difference always because there are different landscapes and climates Even if all cities offer skyscrapers and parks few will find the cityscape of one megatown the same as anotherZukin's main issue though is with chains insofar as they contribute to that homogenization As they take over a city district the mom and pop stores disappear and authenticity is lost to of the same This is where she departs from Jacobs's views Jacobs Zukin argues was arguing from a particular timeframe of gentrification and could not see the whole picture Jacobs argued that government was the problem and that the private sector community would do a better job of making for livable areas She did not foresee sky high rents being levied on old buildings such that only chains could afford old or new buildings Zukin sees government regulation as a solution but one that is usually not employed The issue is that the government is usually in cahoots with the moneyed interests which means that it encourages homogenization because that's taxes Rather than helping out the immigrant eateries or the community gardens it adds regulations and drives those resources away If on the other hand the government zoned and regulated to encourage such endeavours the soul of cities could be maintainedI'd said that I see the description of gentrification as being simply the upturn of a cycle that goes round and round but Zukin's point does have some precedent There are communities that have banned chain and franchise stores I think of Sedona Arizona where chain stores line the city boundaries or at least they did back in the late 1980s when I visited; inside the city there are only mom and pop places In this way the town is kept authentic At the same time I hate to think of property owners having limitations put on them with regard to what can be put on their land or how much they can accrue from that land If the community including landowners agrees to such restrictions however then there is little to be miffed about