On the podcast, John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York, reflects on Michael Bloomberg’s three terms as mayor of New York City and what the election of Bill de Blasio means for the city. Bill de Blasio is the first Democratic mayor elected since 1993 and won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote. We discuss issues of inequality, affordable housing, immigration, and urban development – as well as the shifting landscape of electoral politics in America’s largest city.
Dr. Mollenkopf is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and is director of the Center for Urban Research. He is a renowned urban scholar on New York City’s politics and has authored or edited fifteen books on urban politics, urban policy, immigration, and New York City. Prior to joining the Graduate Center in 1981, he directed the Economic Development Division of the New York City Department of City Planning.
Listen and subscribe to the podcast here.
On the program, Valery Jean of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) reflects on the Michael Bloomberg era in New York City and what the mayoral election of Bill de Blasio might mean for (in)equality, public and affordable housing, and urban development policies. De Blasio, a former New York City Public Advocate, won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote. He is the first Democratic mayor elected since 1993.He is the first Democratic mayor elected since 1993. Jean also discusses the organization’s important work empowering public housing residents to organize to preserve and protect the city’s public housing.
Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) is a Brooklyn-based multi-racial organization made up almost exclusively of women of colour. They organize low-income families to build power to change the system so that all people’s work is valued and all have the right and economic means to decide and live out our own destinies. FUREE has organized around the City of New York’s redevelopment plans for downtown Brooklyn, which was the focus of the film My Brooklyn. Allison Lirish Dean (My Brooklyn filmmaker) was interviewed on a past podcast.
On the podcast, The City discusses the intersections of race, class, and redevelopment in Brooklyn, New York with My Brooklyn filmmaker Allison Lirish Dean. In the filmmakers’ own words:
My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighbourhood along lines of race and class. The story begins when Anderson moves to Brooklyn in 1988, lured by cheap rents and bohemian culture. By Michael Bloomberg’s election as mayor in 2001, a massive speculative real estate boom is rapidly altering the neighbourhoods she has come to call home. She watches as an explosion of luxury housing and chain store development spurs bitter conflict over who has a right to live in the city and to determine its future. While some people view these development patterns as ultimately revitalizing the city, to others, they are erasing the eclectic urban fabric, economic and racial diversity, creative alternative culture, and unique local economies that drew them to Brooklyn in the first place. It seems that no less than the city’s soul is at stake.
Meanwhile, development officials announce a controversial plan to tear down and remake the Fulton Mall, a popular and bustling African-American and Caribbean commercial district just blocks from Anderson’s apartment. She discovers that the Mall, despite its run-down image, is the third most profitable shopping area in New York City with a rich social and cultural history. As the local debate over the Mall’s future intensifies, deep racial divides in the way people view neighbourhood change become apparent. All of this pushes Anderson to confront her own role in the process of gentrification, and to investigate the forces behind it more deeply.
The film is an important reminder of how seemingly mundane processes of zoning and land use change can dramatically change urban landscapes, and these changes may entail the loss of vibrant, racially diverse neighbourhoods and the displacement of lower-income residents and affordable, independent businesses. While the contexts may be different, these broader processes are at work in cities across North America, and certainly in Vancouver.
UBC geography professor David Ley and geographer Nicholas Lynch co-authored a recent study, Divisions and Disparities in Lotus Land: Socio-Spatial Income Polarization in Greater Vancouver, 1970-2005. Nicholas Lynch presents the worrisome findings of the study, as we see an increasingly divided Vancouver and a disappearing middle class. He discusses the social geography of polarization across the region, the implications, and possible policy solutions.
There is a free screening of “My Brooklyn” scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th at SFU Woodward’s. Find the details on the Facebook event page. These very processes are occurring throughout Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, especially in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. A large number of rezonings for large condominium developments (by large developers) have been approved for the predominantly low-income Chinatown and Downtown Eastside area.
Tune in for more about this on the week’s radio program and podcast, airing live February 19th at 5pm on CiTR 101.9 FM.
On November 1st, 2012, Loic Wacquant gave a public lecture organized by the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Studies and the Department of Geography. His talk is entitled, “The Production and Penalization of the Precariat in the Neoliberal Age.”
Loic Wacquant is professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and a researcher with the European Centre of Sociology and Political Science in Paris. He is the author of many books and articles, including Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality, Prisons of Poverty, and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity.