Mayor Bloomberg’s appointment of Marc Ricks, a vice-president at Goldman Sachs, to the team overseeing the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts was an early indication that the crisis might be used, in classic disaster capitalist fashion, to promote deregulation, reduce … Continue reading “The Battle Over Zone A”
Cities are the cradles of human civilization, and they are also the testing grounds for humanity’s future. Over 50% of human beings now live in cities, and that percentage is going to accelerate rapidly as the megacities of the global … Continue reading “Bird on Fire”
For those who prefer history chopped up into neat slices, John McCain’s modest concession speech on the lawn of the Arizona Biltmore on November 5, 2008, seemed like a clean cut of the knife. With the economy in a nosedive, it was not just the end of a presidential campaign. The neoliberal era seemed to be over–its reigning troika of deregulation, marketization, and privatization cast into disgrace, along with its most recent fiscal vehicles such as debt leveraging and speculation in finance and land. Nowhere was the devastation more visible than in McCain’s hometown. Phoenix had flown highest in the race to profit from the housing bubble, and it had fallen the furthest. Footage of the metro region’s outer-ring subdivisions reclaimed by sage grass, tumbleweed, and geckos was as evocative of the bubble’s savage aftermath as photographs of the Dust Bowl’s windblown soil had been of the Great Depression.
Andrew Ross has done it again. He’s researched something new, and written it up elegantly. In this case, the topic is sustainability, in that most right-wing of cities, Phoenix (Arizona). Ross weaves in a complex set of stories and voices, … Continue reading “Bird on Fire: Response”
I confess: I drive “a Prius, eat organic and support wilderness preservation.” I am under no illusion, however, that doing these things makes my lifestyle sustainable. There is much more to achieving sustainability goals personally and, more significantly, sustainability … Continue reading “A City like the Desert”
Phoenicians starved for their city’s self image will find critical satisfaction in Andrew Ross’s Bird on Fire. As a Phoenix resident for nearly 20 years, I know all too well how we have long been deprived of the kind … Continue reading “That Which Is Not Inferno, Or, The Pleasure of the Urban Text”
The World Bank yesterday approved a $3.75 billion loan for a new coal-fired power plant in Limpopo, South Africa. Named Medupi, the 4,800 megawatt plant will draw on South Africa’s abundant sources of coal to provide power for an increasingly … Continue reading “The Will to Power”
Over the last decade, the word “sustainability” has become a compulsively used word to get at some unspecified but ubiquitous notion of an environmentally ethical and conscious way of life. Businesses, cities, neighborhoods, buildings, and lifestyles can all be praised … Continue reading “Sustainability as Disavowal”