Naked City

Naked City : The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

3.69 (286 ratings by Goodreads)
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As cities have gentrified, educated urbanites have come to prize what they regard as "authentic" urban life: aging buildings, art galleries, small boutiques, upscale food markets, neighborhood old-timers, funky ethnic restaurants, and old, family-owned shops. These signify a place's authenticity, in contrast to the bland standardization of the suburbs and exurbs. But as Sharon Zukin shows in Naked City, the rapid and pervasive demand for authenticity-evident in escalating real estate prices, expensive stores, and closely monitored urban streetscapes-has helped drive out the very people who first lent a neighborhood its authentic aura: immigrants, the working class, and artists. Zukin traces this economic and social evolution in six archetypal New York areas-Williamsburg, Harlem, the East Village, Union Square, Red Hook, and the city's community gardens-and travels to both the city's first IKEA store and the World Trade Center site. She shows that for followers of Jane Jacobs, this transformation is a perversion of what was supposed to happen. Indeed, Naked City is a sobering update of Jacobs' legendary 1962 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Like Jacobs, Zukin looks at what gives neighborhoods a sense of place, but argues that over time, the emphasis on neighborhood distinctiveness has become a tool of economic elites to drive up real estate values and effectively force out the neighborhood "characters" that Jacobs so evocatively idealized. With a journalist's eye and the understanding of a longtime critic and observer, Zukin's panoramic survey of contemporary New York explains how our desire to consume authentic experience has become a central force in making cities more more

Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 19 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195382854
  • 9780195382853
  • 689,610

Review quote

an important study of the social and commercial forces redefining our cities. * P D Smith, The Guardian * The strengths of Naked City lie in Zukin's acute eye, her attentive ear for shifts in the way we talk about cities, and her evocative sympathy for the longtime residents of neighborhoods such as Williamsburg, Harlem, Red Hook, and her own East Village, trying to hold onto their leases and their lives as a rising tide of cultural and finance capital raises everyones rent... Zukin offers a compelling account of how a certain kind of success spoils cities and some eminently sensible, if politically radical, ideas about how to preserve people along with buildings. * D.D.Guttenplan, TLS *show more

About Sharon Zukin

Sharon Zukin is Broeklundian Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate more

Table of contents

Preface ; 1. Origins and New Beginnings ; UNCOMMON SPACES ; 2. How Brooklyn Became Cool ; 3. Living Local in the East Village ; 4. Why Harlem is Not a Ghetto ; COMMON SPACES ; 5. Union Square and the Paradox of Public Space ; 6. A Tale of Two Globals: Pupusas and IKEA in Red Hook ; 7. The Billboard and the Garden: A Struggle for Roots ; 8. Destination Culture and the Crisis of Authenticityshow more

Rating details

286 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 20% (57)
4 38% (108)
3 35% (100)
2 7% (20)
1 0% (1)
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