[lbo-talk] Regeneration (was: Kvetching, was Sarkozy, France etc)

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at jhu.edu
Wed May 9 10:02:15 PDT 2007


The history of Olympic cities is on Monbiot's side. The "regeneration" usually consists of displacement and gentrification.

Just a week or two ago you were making fun of me for swallowing bourgeois propaganda about climate change. You're swallowing the bourgeois definition of "regeneration" with less seasoning than I apply to the climate story.

[WS:] And what is exactly wrong with "regeneration" or "gentrification?" It creates economic growth, it improves living conditions, it creates jobs - what is wrong with that. Slums do not do that -they only perpetuate stagnation and misery. I can assure you from my Baltimore experience that most people who are "displaced" by gentrification love it, because it gives them economic opportunities that they did not have before. The only people who kvetch about gentrification are a handful of activistists who use it as an opportunity to create publicity for themselves and blasé intellectuals who hate the mainstream institutions. So regeneration is not bourgeois myth but material reality. It is "gentrification'' that is a left-wing and countercultural myth and a kvetching trope.

I may also add that the climate change trope cannot boast the same level of factuality as urban "regeneration" - most of the climate change outcomes is still in the sphere or projections and speculations. I am not implying that it is all BS, though. All I am saying that most of it has not materialized yet. "Regeneration" otoh has already created tangible material benefits (even for the "displaced" populations) for everyone to see. I can offer a tour of "regeneration" projects in Baltimore to anyone on this list who cares to visit.


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