David Harvey's Urban Manifesto:
Down With Suburbia; Down With
Bloomberg's New York City
BY Greg Lindsay
Fast Company, Wed Jul 21, 2010'
"New York? The whole damn place has been turned into a suburb," sneered David Harvey, startling a roomful of New Yorkers who prided themselves on the same things he derided: the makeover of the city's parks; the new network of bike lanes; the pedestrian malls along Broadway. "The feel of the city is losing its urbanity and being made okay for suburbanites to enjoy Times Square," he continued, going on to condemn New York's gentrification not on aesthetic or nostalgic grounds, but for being at the root of the financial crisis.
Harvey is having a bit of a moment in America, as much as any neo-Marxist economic geographer can. Earlier this month, his lucid explanation of the "econopocalyspe" (accompanied by animated whiteboard doodles) was a modest hit on Boing Boing. Richard Florida borrowed his concept of the "spatial fix"--the idea that capitalism gets bigger and badder every time it's wriggles out of a crisis--for his latest book, The Great Reset. And Harvey's own book-length explanation of the crisis, The Enigma of Capital is set to be published on these shores in September.
On Tuesday night in Manhattan, Harvey made a rare American appearance to discuss "experimental geography" and the role cities and suburbia played in the crisis. Starting from the idea of a "geographic unconscious"--"the way we think of space and time as 'natural' when they're really constructed,"--Harvey blamed suburbia for brainwashing Americans into being good capitalists.(more...)