Gentrification Represents a Geography of Inequality

Karlin, Mark; Moskowitz, Peter

Publisher:  Truthout
Date Written:  23/04/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20659

What does gentrification mean for the future of American cities? It means more than the arrival of trendy shops and expensive coffee. Peter Moskowitz intertwines human narratives with incisive analysis of the systemic forces contributing to America's crises of race and inequality, in How to Kill a City. Click here now to order this book with a donation to Truthout!The following is a Truthout interview with Peter Moskowitz, author of How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood.



Mark Karlin: How do you define gentrification?

Peter Moskowitz: Gentrification has many meanings, and I think that's great -- it's a sign normal people are taking control of it and taking it away from super-academic territory. But in terms of cities, I think gentrification is essentially always a predictable, mostly top-down process of turning cities from community-controlled entities into neoliberal, capital-controlled entities. It may seem like gentrification is random -- a coffee shop opens here, a block becomes more expensive there, but in every city it happens there's a confluence of similar policy choice that leads to gentrification. The end goal always is to fund cities through trickle-down economics, to hope that attracting enough of the rich to your city will pay for its basic necessities. That's a harsh reality for a lot of cities today because federal taxes are so low (about half what they were 40 years ago). So that means instead of the rich, via income taxes, paying for things like public education, public transit, streets, etc., cities attempt to fund those things via hipsters paying $4 for muffins. That's how gentrification takes hold of city policy. That's why it's a bigger issue than hipsters.

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