Leslie Kern discusses her book, Sex and the Revitalized City: Gender, Condominium Development, and Urban Citizenship, and her research on the social and political implications of real estate development reshaping the landscape of cities.
Here’s a bit about her book:
Young, single women emerged in the late 1990s as powerful consumers in the wave of real estate development that was reshaping the landscape of cities. Reports claimed that condominium ownership offered women new-found freedom, financial independence, and personal security. But has home ownership truly empowered women, or were the reports merely celebratory rhetoric that disguised more disquieting trends?
To get at the reality behind the rhetoric, Sex and the Revitalized City explores the phenomenon from the perspective of planners, developers, and women condo owners to reveal that women’s relationship with the city is being remade in the image of fast capital and consumer citizenship. As filtered through condominium ownership, neoliberal ideologies are not freeing women from constraints — they are reinforcing patriarchal norms. This fresh look at urban revitalization exposes the notion of women’s emancipation through condominium ownership as a marketing ploy rather than a major shift in gender relations.
Dr. Leslie Kern is assistant professor of women’s studies at Mount Allison University.