Critiques of Placemaking

  • Sam Wetherell | “Richard Florida is Sorry ” If decaying cities wanted to survive, they had to open cool bars, shabby-chic coffee shops, and art venues that attract young, educated, and tolerant residents. Eventually, the mysterious alchemy of the creative economy would build a new and prosperous urban core.” Richard Florida, one of the most influential thinkers about cities in postwar America, wants you to know that he got almost everything about cities wrong.”
  • Roberto Bedoya | “Spatial Justice: Rasquachification, Race and the City” “Rasquachification is also what the community activist Jenny Lee calls placekeeping—not just preserving the facade of the building but also keeping the cultural memories associated with a locale alive, keeping the tree once planted in the memory of a loved one lost in a war and keeping the tenants who have raised their family in an apartment.”
  • Carribean Fragoza | Art and Complicity: How the fight against gentrification in Boyle Heights questions the role of artists “We are still waiting to see an example of where an arts district didn’t displace a community. The designation of an arts district is a tool of development.”
  • Colin Kinniburgh | How to Stop Gentrification    “What happened? The explanation is simple enough: Freret was designated a “cultural district” by the state in 2012, allowing new businesses—but not existing ones—to operate tax-free. A slew of restaurants opened in quick succession, turning Freret Street into a “dining hot spot” for young, white, subsidized crowds while long-running businesses like the local barber shop were left to fend for themselves.”
  • Irfana Jetha Noorani | “Who is it for?”   “While the 11th Street Bridge Park and similar projects across the country are addressing factors of economic displacement in surrounding neighborhoods (see the Bridge Park’s Equitable Development Plan), we often struggle to tackle the less tangible effects of our projects—cultural displacement.” Though cultural displacement can take different forms—from change in a neighborhood’s physical characteristics (like architecture or landscaping), demographic shifts, or a new coffee shop that opens down the street—it’s about when residents feel a dwindling sense of ownership over their space.
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