At the End of the Progressive Rainbow: Even Liberals Don’t Like Progressive Planning

October 1, 2014

A fascinating discussion by Gavin Mueller at Jacobin demonstrates how progressive cities aren’t necessarily liberal or good for “the people,” at least when it comes to urban development.

Tying up your assets, your middle-class future, in home values does something to people. It alters their interests. It sutures a professional class, of liberal and even progressive beliefs, to the rapacious capitalist expansion into the city. The people who move to gentrifying areas tend to have liberal, tolerant, cosmopolitan sympathies. But they are aligned materially with reactionary and oppressive city restructuring, pushing them into antagonism with established residents, who do nothing for property values.

Mueller is writing about Washington DC, but the same pattern can be found in Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland (Oregon) and many other “progressive” cities. (Last year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland developed a list of the most “Gentrifying Cities”. The list is here.)

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