Sarah Schulman: The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination (2012)

10 June 2013, dusan

“In this gripping memoir of the AIDS years (1981–1996), Sarah Schulman recalls how much of the rebellious queer culture, cheap rents, and a vibrant downtown arts movement vanished almost overnight to be replaced by gay conservative spokespeople and mainstream consumerism. Schulman takes us back to her Lower East Side and brings it to life, filling these pages with vivid memories of her avant-garde queer friends and dramatically recreating the early years of the AIDS crisis as experienced by a political insider. Interweaving personal reminiscence with cogent analysis, Schulman details her experience as a witness to the loss of a generation’s imagination and the consequences of that loss.”

Publisher University of California Press, 2012
ISBN 0520264770, 9780520264779
179 pages
via I. I. Rubin

review (Emily Douglas, Los Angeles Review of Books)



Sharon Zukin: Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (2009)

8 December 2012, dusan

As cities have gentrified, educated urbanites have come to prize what they regard as “authentic” urban life: aging buildings, art galleries, small boutiques, 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 Square, 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.

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2009
ISBN 0195382854, 9780195382853
312 pages

review (PD Smith, The Guardian)
interview with the author (Rorotoko)

google books


Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy journal, No. 0-1 (2010-2011)

30 September 2011, dusan

“The second issue of SCAPEGOAT looks to current practices to intensify our concept of Service—as a problem. That is, how can we develop new models for self-management and mutual aid that move beyond unidirectional forms of service as clientelism and dependency? How can we think through service provision beyond the State? How can we privilege voluntary association and ethical reciprocity rather than volunteerism? How can new approaches to training and the intergenerational transmission of knowledge be radically re-organized? How has the rise of the populist Right coincided with mechanisms of gentrification and the ideologies of the so-called ’creative city’? How can we counter the predominance of economic metaphors in our attempts to articulate values and commitments? How could design services work in solidarity with the labour of extraction, construction, and maintenance?” (authors)

Issue 1: Service
Summer 2011
Editors: Jane Hutton, Etienne Turpin
28 pages


“The inaugural issue examines the centrality of the problem of Property because it is the literal foundation for all spatial design practices. We believe that this buried foundation must be exhumed. Architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design each begin with a space that is already drawn, organized, and formed by the concrete abstraction of the property lines. From our perspective, Property stands as the most fundamental, yet underestimated, point of intersection between architecture, landscape architecture, and political economy. What is a “site” except a piece of property? What are architecture and landscape architecture but subtle and consistent attempts to express determined property relations as open aesthetic possibilities? And, decisively, how can these practices facilitate other kinds of relation?” (authors)

Issue 0: Property
Fall 2010
Editors: Adrian Blackwell, Etienne Turpin
24 pages


SCAPEGOAT: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy is an independent, not-for-profit, bi-annual journal designed to create a context for research and development regarding design practice, historical investigation, and theoretical inquiry.

As a mytheme, the figure of the scapegoat carries the burden of the city and its sins. Walking in exile, the scapegoat was once freed from the constraints of civilization. Today, with no land left unmapped, and with processes of urbanization central to political economic struggles, SCAPEGOAT is exiled within the reality of global capital. The journal examines the relationship between capitalism and the built environment, confronting the coercive and violent organization of space, the exploitation of labour and resources, and the unequal distribution of environmental risks and benefits. Throughout our investigation of design and its promises, we return to the politics of making as a politics to be constructed.

Publisher: Scapegoat Publications, Toronto
Editorial board: Adrian Blackwell, Adam Bobbette, Jane Hutton, Marcin Kedzior, Chris Lee, Christie Pearson, Etienne Turpin