Samuel Stein: Capital City



This book is a short polemic against city developers it s an important critiue but there isn t enough substance here It s a jumbled mess of ideas and theories neoliberalism capitalism labor that the writer does not connect with the subject An extremely helpful crash course on the rise of the real estate state a political ormation in which real estate capital has inordinate influence over the shape of our cities the parameters of our politics and the lives we lead As an aspiring practicing planner who has only ever lived and worked in the real estate state it is helpful to read a book that is able to adeuately assess these conditions and the challenges they pose Figlio dellolocausto for planners without resigning to them The main challenge in our current capitalist system nearly every public investment that planners can make can be leveraged into private gain due to increased land values thanks to these investments This of course is key to gentrification which Stein calls a spatialix to cities capital crisis and the third stage in a long term process of capital Mr Majeika and the School Book Week flow in and out of space This is a really helpful reorientationor me as I am learning to articulate my concerns with the way my job does planning Many times I and many of my left leaning colleagues are working through reservations that our bosses are telling us to use the same strategies that led to ineuitable outcomes in one city while expecting they ll work differently in secondary markets Sam Stein s work is helpful because it provides alternative strategies reordered regionalism socialized land public stewardship that planners could use to actually break the wheel altogether Without these alternatives even well meaning euitable initiatives like neighborhood reinvestment owner occupied rehab euitable code enforcement geared to punish slumlords and other strategies geared to help build self sustaining housing markets in disinvested neighborhoods that are not gentrifying are not enough and are in Outliving fact continuing the speculative development cycle by promoting what Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor would call predatory inclusion Moving awayrom predatory inclusion and towards community control aka the pivot towards socialized planning is exactly what I m hoping to learn While this book provides a lot of aspirational policy objectives many of which planners don t have the authority to control it also proposes the role of planners in supporting peoples movements through our work and gives us tangible steps to get there such as through securing Landscapes of Communism funding and implementation supportor demonstration projects that help people see the benefits of socialized planning I am excited to keep learning about and begin practicing socialized planning New Years Rockin Evil (Futurama Comics from community members and organizers practitioner role models in theield and academics like “This superbly succinct and incisive book couldn’t be timely or urgent” Michael Sorkin author of All Over the MapOur cities are changing Around the world and money is being invested in buildings and land Real estate is now a 217 trillion dollar industry worth thirty six times the value of all the gold ever mined It orms sixt.

Uctory accounts of gentrification Stein does an excellent job recognizing the importance of cycles of disinvestment and re investment the role of impersonal market orces and the changing dynamics of global capitalism that Tough Girl facilitate and accelerate gentrification For thoseamiliar with Marxist and left political economies of urban real estate the book offers a ew under documented insights such as how inclusionary zoning with affordable housing developments can actually work to drastically reduce the amount of affordable housing in a neighborhood Stein s critiue of planning is particularly insightful account of the limits of progressive state officials under capitalism and the contradictions of progressive liberalism Stein closes out with some general policy recommendations working towards socialist decommodified housing which he recognizes as necessarily depending on popular tenant organizingI would have liked the material on planning reduced and replaced with some clear analysis about the class dynamics of tenant rebellions and the sorts of dynamics that could enable the consolidation and strengthening of tenant power Stein says little about the landscape of tenants rights organizations and what the contradictions and limits of what they are able to accomplish Nor does he provide even a brief historical sketch of the moments where tenant insurgency has won real gains It is clear he knows all this and references it but not with the clarity and precision I would have liked Stein dodges the contentious and unresolved uestions of Marxist urban political economy such as the extent to which landowners constitute a distinct class if inancialization actually constitutes a distinct moment of capitalism with new laws of motion if there are limits to the current hyper gentrification of cities or or what produces the mass tenant rebellions of the past Stein provides an excellent summation Perfect Phrases for Lead Generation for why industrial capital was a counter weight to real estate owning interests in cities when they were centers of manufacturing interests but is a lot less plausible in suggesting cities could become manufacturing centers again The book also has surprisingly little about the role of anti black racism in gentrification and landlord strategies and garnering white supportor major development projects I imagine Stein will be grappling with some of these uestions in his current dissertation which will hopefully soon become an academic bookIn New York City communists are using Stein s book in a series of study groups trying to cohere a pole of the housing movement to the left of the many non profit organizations working on the issue This is an extremely exciting and positive development Conversationally Speaking for the tenant movement and Stein s book is a good choiceor collective study I highly recommend it. Nning Planning agencies provide a uniue window into the ways the state uses and is used by capital and the means by which urban renovations are translated into rising real estate values and rising rentsCapital City explains the role of planners in the real estate state as well as the remarkable power of planning to reclaim urban lif.

Am Stein As someone who is uite uninformed about the intricacies of real estate and urban planning I Hoot found this book tremendously eye opening The book is broadly divided into what is urban planning how is real estate measuredvalued how urban planners are ultimately beholden to theluctuations and dictatorship of real estate values the latter having evolved into a inancial instrument speculated upon by a transnational capitalist class a history of the displacement of working class demographics by planners largely at the intersection of class and race through the process of gentrification the ascendance of a real estate president and how this signifies the coalescence of real estate interests in the political sphere alternatives to the current system which can provide public socialized land or urban workers and create thriving communities Highly informative and provides the reader with a Beowulf is my name (Rinehart editions, 146) framework informed by socialism to analyze the toxicity of the real estate state and what communities could potentially be Greatirst book or someone who wants to understand the driving actors of gentrification This book is excellent I was A Gentleman for Dry Creek (Dry Creek, far too sanguine about urban liberal things like city planning BIDs TIFs etc the helpmeets of the young technocrat who thinks that cities are the apotheosis of mankind What I didn t realize is how ineluctably these things lead to displacement and gentrification the continuous erosion of the city as pastiche and into a play landor the elite rich While I enjoyed having my assumptions and beliefs challenged I didn t Trail of Evidence (Capitol K-9 Unit find the author s solutions very compelling When you re told that investment in communities is bad because it leads to gentrification and that disinvestment is bad because it starves communities of resources youeel like you re being set up Architecture by Birds and Insects for some comprehensive achievable solution But the solutions he posits community home ownership Havana style seem at best impossible and at worst just naive Havana is not a place I would describe as one where people are happy with housing allocations and I say that having interviewed dozens of Habaneros aew years back Regardless this book is pithy and extremely smart I d recommend it to anyone trying to understand how cities work which euities and constituencies are being served by which policies and which of your biases toward urban policy you want to maintain having read what Stein has to say In Capital City Sam Stein has produced an accessible and readable socialist account of real estate development and urban politics He explains in straight Beyond Carnival forward terms why real estate owners and developers are so much powerful than they used to be why planners and city governments areorced to cater to their needs and the terrible things this does to cities and people s lives Unlike many introd. Y percent of global assets and one of the most powerful people in the world the president of the United States made his name as a landlord and developerSamuel Stein shows that this explosive transformation of urban life and politics has been driven not only by the tastes of wealthy newcomers but by the state led process of urban pla.

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