Friday, October 18, 2013

Public-private partnerships

When I hear that phrase in my nightmares, it's always in Mitch Landrieu's voice.  Anyway, here's an article.
This is not a localized thing, as cities everywhere are grappling with the abruptness and consequences of such change. And while gentrification has been occurring here and there for decades, with community capital unwound on a street-by-street basis for higher returns and bigger tax receipts, the sheer push from above, like meat through a grinder, is now so systematic—and no longer personified by the Robert Moses’s of the world but by a kind of faceless force blowing a current of yield and tidiness in—that it has just become what is, with the late scholar Neil Smith referring to this latest iteration as the “generalization of gentrification”.

In his article “New Globalism, New Urbanism: Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy”, Smith examines how gentrification has morphed from an unfortunate effect to an outright aim. One explanation for this relates to the ever-morphing private-public partnership in cities in which elected officials have forgone governing for investing, with policy no longer aspiring to guide economic growth but rather being crafted to “fit in the grooves” of market forces, particularly in the realm of real estate.

Why real estate?

Part of the reason is that economic leaders now primarily see Americans as consumers as opposed to producers, and so cities—particularly alpha dog global cities—have shifted their focus from payrolls to price per square feet, making real estate an increasingly important productive engine of cities as opposed to the productive capacity of the citizen. Enter, then, the volitional push of attracting as many creative class gentry as possible into the confines of a place, with real estate gimmicks—such as Mayor Bloomberg’s recent microapartment push—aimed at further squeezing blood from areas with far more density than available space.
Please stop telling me the problem with New Orleans is merely that we have a housing "supply problem."  We do, sort of, but the present policy course has been to further reduce the supply of affordable housing and encourage more and more "luxury" development.  No plan currently on the table alters that course. 

1 comment:

bayoustjohndavid said...

Don't know if you saw EconSouth's profile of Michael Hacht of GNO inc., but he even compared New Orleans to a private equity opportunity: http://www.frbatlanta.org/pubs/econsouth/13q3.cfm

In a quick glance at the online, it seemed to be missing some of the offensive (to so someone like you or me) items from the print, but it might have just been that the formatting made a quick read more difficult.