Monday, September 13, 2010

Scythe of Progress

"'The scythe of progress must move northward.' Moses callously remarked that it was no more possible to rebuild a city without dislocation than it is to make an omelet without breaking eggs. 'We cannot rebuild a city without moving people.'"

Anthony Flint,Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City

A lot of community organizing in the 1960s and 1970s got off the ground in reaction to master builders and their highway, urban renewal and megaproject dreams. Sometimes communities won, many times they did not. Then the banks' role in community disinvestment came to the forefront -- and led to community reinvestment coalitions, legislation, and new investment vehicles. In the 1990s and up until today dislocation has been spurred by the remaking of public housing, disasters, and the expansions of anchor institutions. Today, many low-income neighborhoods face the challenges of benign neglect, foreclosure, and until the recession, gentrification. Master builders certainly put a face on neighborhood change

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