Excerpts from “New Globalism, New Urbanism. Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy”
By Neil Smith
Celebrations of Urbanity - The Urban Reinventors, Issue Nr. 2, December 2007
“This paper uses several events in New York in the late 1990s to launch two central arguments about the changing relationship between neoliberal urbanism and so-called globalization. First, much as the neoliberal state becomes a consummate agent of—rather than a regulator of—the market, the new revanchist urbanism that replaces liberal urban policy in cities of the advanced capitalist world increasingly expresses the impulses of capitalist production rather than social reproduction. As globalization bespeaks a rescaling of the global, the scale of the urban is recast. The true global cities may be the rapidly growing metropolitan economies of Asia, Latin America, and (to a lesser extent) Africa, as much as the command centers of Europe, North America and Japan. Second, the process of gentrification, which initially emerged as a sporadic, quaint, and local anomaly in the housing markets of some command-center cities, is now thoroughly generalized as an urban strategy that takes over from liberal urban policy. No longer isolated or restricted to Europe, North America, or Oceania, the impulse behind gentrification is now generalized; its incidence is global, and it is densely connected into the circuits of global capital and cultural circulation. What connects these two arguments is the shift from an urban scale defined according to the conditions of social reproduction to one in which the investment of productive capital holds definitive precedence…”
This paper was first published in “Antipode” 34(3): 434-457, © 2002 Editorial Board of Antipode. Published by Blackwell Publishers.
Neil Smith is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he also directs the Center for Place, Culture and Politics. He recently won the LA Times Book Prize for Biography (2003) for his book American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization (2003). He works on the broad connections between space, social theory and history, and among his eight books are New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City (1996) and Uneven Development: Nature, Capital and the Production of Space (1991). He has been called the “father of gentrification theory,” and is author of more than 160 scholarly articles and papers and his work has been translated into ten languages. He has been awarded Honors for Distinguished Scholarship by the Association of American Geographers and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and has held visiting professorships across the world, and he is an organizer of the International Critical Geography Group. His newest books are The Endgame of Globalization (Routledge, 2005) and The Politics of Public Space (edited with Setha Low, 2006). His opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Guardian, and the LA Times.