WE HAVE BATS IN OUR BELFRIES!!!!!!
What we note below as well----eminent domain is to be used ONLY FOR EXPANDING PUBLIC USE.
'Despite explicit limitations in the U.S. Constitution and nearly every state constitution that allow condemnations only for public use—such as for public buildings—for the past 50 years, unrestrained local and state governments across the nation have taken property for private businesses in the name of “economic development.” Homes and businesses have been bulldozed, replaced by newer businesses and more upscale homes owned not by the public, but by private, politically powerful individuals and corporations'.
"We're pleased the court saw the purpose of using this power - a significant power - in a way to achieve public policy objectives and to create jobs and tax revenue," said M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency. "But it should still be used judiciously."
The article detailing eminent domain abuse sites collusion of state courts in allowing BLATANT ABUSES of these powers these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA---calling them PUBLIC USE to sequester blocks of property by our local government which then hands all to global investment bankers to develop----that is not what our US AND MARYLAND CONSTITUTION meant by PUBLIC USE. Here we see almost ALL of Baltimore's East Baltimore Johns Hopkins campus----Harbor East----downtown were seized through these eminent domain abuses. The public has gotten absolutely no benefit from these growing global corporate campuses sucking corporate subsidy while paying no taxes. BUSH ERA 2005----SAME TIME SUBPRIME MORTGAGE FRAUDS IN US CITIES STARTED TO SOAR WITH NO HOLDS BAR.
High court upholds eminent domain
Acquisitions fueled a rebirth
June 24, 2005|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF
Baltimore, which for decades has relied on the power of condemnation to shape its much heralded renaissance, will continue to seize properties when necessary to assemble parcels large enough to attract private development, officials said yesterday.
Yesterday's Supreme Court decision backing localities' use of eminent domain to foster economic revitalization removes any lingering doubt about the future of Baltimore renewal projects that depend upon the city's ability to acquire private property, development officials said.
"We're pleased the court saw the purpose of using this power - a significant power - in a way to achieve public policy objectives and to create jobs and tax revenue," said M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency. "But it should still be used judiciously."
Baltimore has either condemned properties or, backed by the power to seize properties, acquired them through negotiation for the continuing redevelopment of the city's west side, anchored by the renovated Hippodrome Theatre and Bank of America's Centerpoint retail and residential project.
The city is taking the same approach to transform a blighted neighborhood of hundreds of predominantly vacant homes near the Johns Hopkins medical campus in East Baltimore into a biotech park and new homes.
"Without the availability of eminent domain, we would not have the opportunity here in East Baltimore to take what is an extremely physically deteriorated and economically challenged community and have the tools needed to transform that to create a better quality of life," said Jack Shannon, president and chief executive officer of East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit overseeing the project.
Yesterday's high court decision backing the right of New London, Conn., to bulldoze private homes to make way for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices should help quicken the pace of redevelopment of the city's west side, said Ronald M. Kreitner, executive director of Westside Renaissance Inc. The city is moving to acquire properties in the "superblock" bounded by Howard, Liberty, Fayette and Lexington streets to transform it into housing, shops, parking and possibly offices.
"If there was any hesitation because of the [pending] Supreme Court case, any question is removed, and we should expect to see things proceeding in a timely fashion," Kreitner said.
John C. Murphy, an attorney who represents about 20 property and business owners on the west side, said owners of small but flourishing businesses often get unfairly caught in the middle of such plans.
"This decision does not help us," said Murphy of yesterday's court ruling. His west-side clients include small shops, carryouts and variety stores.
Murphy also represents eight business owners fighting a city plan to acquire their properties as part of a major Southwest Baltimore revitalization project that will transform the vacant Uplands Apartments south of Edmondson Avenue into a mixed-income development of single-family homes, condominiums and apartments. The business owners in the Triangle, which borders the Uplands, argue that the city should not be able to seize their properties because they are not blighted.
The business owners, mainly immigrants, are "all wonderful people, and not one of them deserves to be condemned," Murphy said. "I was hopeful about this [Supreme Court] case, and this is going to make our life harder. It's the little guy who gets condemned, it's not the big businesses."
In Baltimore County, then-County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger's redevelopment strategy for the Middle River-Essex area ignited a fierce battle in 2000. Voters petitioned to referendum a bill to expand the county's condemnation powers and soundly defeated it.
Still, current and former development officials said yesterday that without eminent domain Baltimore would lack some of its most defining features, from the Inner Harbor waterfront to the office towers in Charles Center.
"Baltimore wouldn't be where it is today," said Robert C. Embry Jr., Abell Foundation president and one-time head of the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.
Over about five years, the city bought properties on roughly 150 acres around the harbor, some abandoned, others operating businesses. Eminent domain made it possible for planners to realign streets in such a way as to create public access to the waterfront and build a brick promenade. "The use of eminent domain was crucial" to that effort, said Brodie, who from 1968 to 1984 was a deputy and then commissioner of the housing and community development agency. "If we hadn't assembled all of this through eminent domain, then there would be no public edge of the water."
If we know all that most toxic of subprime mortgage loan fraud was aimed at the most valuable of real estate in US city centers deemed FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES then we understand that once our local pols and players pushed these mortgage frauds-----they were no longer in the loop to determine who gets a slice of this pie---the 5% are simply standing hand out begging for any of the FODDER of our US cities.
We showed Wellington Management as the US FED manager tied to all those global 1% ---these appointments occurred during OBAMA ----here is TRUMP simply doing the same-----CARLYLE GROUP is of course the largest hedge fund in the world with CLINTON/BUSH/GATES and all the merry global 1% attached. This appointment is Trump letting WE THE PEOPLE THE 99% KNOW----there will be no regulating these US FED branches as subprime mortgage loan frauds MOVE FORWARD.
GLOBAL WALL STREET 5% CLINTON/OBAMA NEO-LIBERALS MIGHT ASK-----WHY DID OBAMA AND CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS LEAVE A MAJORITY OF THESE US FED BRANCH POSITIONS VACANT FOR THIS NEWLY INSTALLED BY ELECTION FRAUD TRUMP TO APPOINT?
This is why we shout-----those dastardly 5% SHOW ME THE MONEY players were thrown under the bus by Clinton and Obama---well, they are far-right wing global 1% ONLY-----WHAT DID THOSE 5% THINK?
'He left the government in 2006 and was a managing director at the Carlyle Group private-equity firm, investing in troubled banks. He is now managing director at Cynosure Group, a Utah investment firm'.
'Obama administration officials have said stricter curbs on financial risk-taking were warranted in the wake of the financial crisis'.
If FAKE left social progressive groups come out to protest Trump and his US FED appointments ---ask them WHERE WERE YOU WHEN OBAMA AND CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS LEFT ALL THOSE US FED BRANCH APPOINTMENTS OPEN.
Trump to Appoint Randal Quarles as Fed Bank Regulator
07/10/17 07:23 PM EDT
By Ryan Tracy, Kate Davidson and Nick Timiraos
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump plans to put his first mark on the Federal Reserve by nominating Randal Quarles, an investment-fund manager and former Republican Treasury official, to be the central bank's top official in charge of regulating big banks.
The choice of Mr. Quarles, expected for months and confirmed by a White House official Monday, would put a more industry-friendly voice in perhaps the most powerful U.S. bank-regulatory post: Fed vice chair of supervision.
That job was created by Congress in 2010 and was never filled during the Obama administration, although former Fed governor Daniel Tarullo filled the role de facto. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Quarles would take a lead role in carrying out the Trump administration's goal of rethinking many financial regulations adopted during the Obama era.
Mr. Quarles would also weigh in on monetary policy as one of seven members of the Fed's board of governors, now short-staffed with only four members. His views in that sphere could put him at odds with his new colleagues, notably because he has criticized the Fed's policy of keeping interest rates near zero for years following the financial crisis, and advocated for a monetary-policy rule, or formula, to guide rate decisions.
The Fed board has three vacancies, and the White House hopes to offer two more nominees as soon as possible, the official said. The administration has also begun the search for the next Fed chair, though Mr. Trump hasn't ruled out nominating Chairwoman Janet Yellen to a second term, to begin when her current term expires in February.
Mr. Quarles has donated to Republican candidates for years and served in the Treasury Department in both Bush administrations, working on both international affairs and as undersecretary for domestic finance, a senior job that involves coordination with the many U.S. agencies that oversee the financial sector.
He left the government in 2006 and was a managing director at the Carlyle Group private-equity firm, investing in troubled banks. He is now managing director at Cynosure Group, a Utah investment firm.
Mr. Quarles, in a March 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed that he co-wrote, said he didn't support "arbitrarily taking an ax to big banks and irreparably damaging the economy." He endorsed a review of postcrisis regulations but warned that "the consequence of a dramatic increase in bank capital is an increase in the cost of bank credit."
Analysts and government officials have said nominating Mr. Quarles, an establishment Republican, would be a sign that the White House favors more incremental rather than radical changes to the Fed, an institution that has long engendered mistrust among the economic nationalists that backed Mr. Trump during his campaign last year.
Mr. Trump's team has advocated a rethink of Wall Street rules but has few officials in place at financial regulatory agencies. If confirmed, Mr. Quarles would immediately take over the job of overseeing the Fed's regulatory staff, which supervise some of the largest U.S. financial firms including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
He could push for changes in the way the Fed oversees those firms, but he couldn't change the rules on his own. For that, he would need the support of other members of the Fed's board and other agencies.
The choice of Mr. Quarles "shows that we're looking for a change to the heavy-handed approach to regulation from the prior administration," the White House official said Monday. Mr. Quarles, the official said, "has a track record of working well with others to implement public policy."
Obama administration officials have said stricter curbs on financial risk-taking were warranted in the wake of the financial crisis.
Mr. Quarles would find some familiar faces at the Fed. He has worked before with Fed governor Jerome Powell, who is now the point person on the Fed's regulatory efforts and also served in the George H.W. Bush administration and worked at Carlyle Group.
Mr. Quares is married to Hope Eccles, who is a relative of Marriner Eccles, the New Deal-era Fed chairman whose name is on the building where Mr. Quarles would have his office.
Ms. Yellen is set to testify on Wednesday and Thursday on Capitol Hill, where she will likely be asked about Mr. Quarles and the Fed's agenda. In the past, she has said she is open to changing some bank rules but not what she regards as core changes adopted after the 2008 financial bailouts.
Ms. Yellen has objected to proposals to require the Fed to use a mathematical monetary-policy rule, an approach popular among some conservatives who argue central banks have too much discretion and should be more accountable to the public.
Mr. Quarles said in the 2016 op-ed that low-interest-rate policies have "led to a rise in speculative positions" across the financial system and that a monetary-policy rule would reduce the incentive for big banks and smaller firms to take dangerous risks.
Mr. Quarles's path to the nomination illustrates a broader trend in which nominees across the executive branch have faced delays completing the traditional background clearance and screening process.
Top White House officials had identified the vice chair post as a priority weeks after Mr. Trump's election last year, and after an extended search process, officials identified Mr. Quarles as their top pick in April. At the time, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had indicated a nominee for the post was imminent.
The White House expected Mr. Quarles's nomination to receive broad Republican support. He needs a simple majority to be approved by the Senate, where Republicans control 52 out of 100 seats.
The White House has also been considering economist Marvin Goodfriend to fill a second vacancy on the Fed board, according to people familiar with the matter. It isn't clear when his nomination might be announced and submitted to the Senate.
The White House has been searching for a candidate with experience in small, locally focused community banks for the third opening, as a result of a law requiring that someone on the Fed board have experience in that industry. But finding a nominee has been difficult in part because of federal ethics rules that require Fed officials to divest of their interest in financial firms. Once a regulatory nominee is selected, the process for security and ethics reviews has been taking about two months.
Write to Ryan Tracy at email@example.com, Kate Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nick Timiraos at email@example.com
As if any US citizen doesn't know corporations have controlled all public and economic policy since CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA so what Trump is saying is what Bernie and Elizabeth Warren is saying---IT IS TIME TO GET 21 ST CENTURY with global banking-----that 21st century GLASS STEAGALL meets global corporate executives controlling our economic policy----remember in the DARK AGES the VENETIAN EMPIRE had a SENATE composed only of those very OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1%----that is MOVING FORWARD TRUMP. It basically MOVES FORWARD ONE WORLD WORLD CENTRAL BANK.
Since all things 2016 primary and general election are KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN FILLED WITH ELECTION FRAUD AND RIGGING----nothing Trump does---as too CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA as Robber Baron Presidents is legitimate----it can and will all be VOIDED EASY PEASY by WE THE PEOPLE THE 99%!
Don't fear what has happened these few decades----get engaged----bring the government back to WE THE PEOPLE.
We can see why global banking has ramped up the march towards CIA/United Nations civil unrest/failed state in US cities to install martial law allowing no one to protest. Those dastardly 5% GREEKS AND FREEMASON fake left and right civil liberties groups fighting it out for global 1%!
Trump's Fed Can Start a Central Bank Revolution
It's time business executives were given a say in monetary policy.
February 27, 2017, 7:03 AM ESTTalkin' about a revolution.
Photographer: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump will select three members of the Federal Reserve board during his term in office, including a replacement chair for Janet Yellen when her appointment expires early next year. He should seize the chance to refresh the Fed with faces from the business community, adding executives to the roster of PhD economists who currently run monetary policy in most of the world.
The Fed appointments come at a key juncture in U.S. economic policy, one that makes business knowhow an even more valuable commodity for a rate-setter than usual. Trump's fiscal policies will set a new backdrop for the monetary policy environment, given his intention to cut personal and business tax rates and boost investment in the nation's infrastructure.
So appointing executives to the Fed who've had to take fiscal and monetary policy into account when making decisions on where and when to build new factories or make other capital expenditure decisions makes sense.
Torsten Slok, the chief international economist for Deutsche Bank AG, sent around a chart last week showing how the composition of the Fed has become increasingly focused on PhD economists:
It's little wonder that in this populist age central bank independence is under attack. As Bloomberg News reported on Monday, the rise of populism is putting pressure on central banks as "institutions stuffed with unelected technocrats wielding the power to affect the economic fate of millions." Leavening the boards of policy makers with executives who've made hiring and firing decisions and have helped build companies would be a way to address the perception that decisions about borrowing costs are made in ivory towers by economists who've all read the same textbooks but don't inhabit the same world as the people they're supposed to serve.
There are precedents for giving business folk the monetary reins. Edward Kelley ran his father's manufacturing company for 20 years, and served as a Fed board member for 14 years until 2001. David Lilly was president and chairman of Toro Co., maker of lawn mowers and landscaping equipment, before landing at the Fed from 1976 to 1978. Wayne Angell was a farmer in the early 1970s before joining the Fed in 1986. Since July 2015, Japan's central bank board has included Yukitoshi Funo, who ran Toyota Motor Corp.'s North American business; he in turn replaced Yoshihisa Morimoto, a former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executive.
Last week, Trump hosted 24 business leaders after announcing in December that he wanted an advisory panel on manufacturing. The executives split into working groups discussing potential policy changes on infrastructure, the future workforce, taxes and trade; so Trump already has a roster of talent he can tap to make those appointments.
The world of banking and finance has provided its share of central bankers, of course. The European Central Bank is run by Mario Draghi, while Mark Carney is chief at the Bank of England, both alumni of Goldman Sachs Group. Trump himself tapped former Goldman President Gary Cohn as director of the National Economic Council.
Clear thinking from leading voices in business, economics, politics, foreign affairs, culture, and more.
Share the ViewTrump, however, should resist the urge to turn to the banking community for his Fed replacements. My fellow Bloomberg View columnist Narayana Kocherlakota, who was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 2009 to 2015, argued last week that appointing "someone whose primary qualification is a fortune made on Wall Street would be a huge mistake." Fed decisions would risk being viewed as catering to the interests of the finance industry, Kocherlakota argued, leaving the central bank politically vulnerable.
He's absolutely right; but that shouldn't preclude Trump from casting his recruitment net into the business world. U.S. monetary policy has been the almost exclusive preserve of academic economists for too long.
The restructuring of US FED will begin with Trump and will move towards that ONE WORLD WORLD CENTRAL BANK where laws and policies surrounding US corporations and US rich controlling US FED actions---LIKE WHO GETS ALL THAT MASSIVE TOXIC SUBPRIME MORTGAGE LOAN FRAUD REAL ESTATE IN US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES-----will be made 21 ST CENTURY by bringing in Foreign Central Banks in these development decisions. So, while US FED branches staffed with global hedge fund executives have made all decisions thus far as to which global 1% gets which US city center real estate----Trump will bring in the WORLD BANK/IMF with this coming economic crash and they will demand the US FED open to MERGER INTO that ONE WORLD WORLD CENTRAL BANK. This decade will see expansions of global corporate campuses already inside US FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES---but the following decade will see soaring numbers of foreign corporations and foreign global factories filling our GREATER BALTIMORE.
No doubt these same toxic subprime mortgage loans will continue under Trump until Trump simply ends THE FEDERAL HOUSING AGENCY altogether once these ROBBER BARON FRAUDS are over---coming this decade.
This means WE THE PEOPLE THE 99% will not even be able to PRETEND TO BE SOVEREIGN US CITIZENS---those global 1% and their 2% will control all that is around us in our FORMER US CITIES----
NO LAND FOR YOU SAY GLOBAL 1%.
Remember, much of these real estate deals being called FOREIGN as in this article are really offshore laundered trillions of dollars by global Wall Street being brought back under the guise of FOREIGN BUYER. This dynamic will change next decade when there really will be foreign buyers and global 1% and their 2%----these conditions will not start until foreign investments in US are protected by ONE WORLD WORLD CENTRAL BANK.
Who owns our cities – and why this urban takeover should concern us all
The huge post-credit crunch buying up of urban buildings by corporations has significant implications for equity, democracy and rights
A city is a complex but incomplete system ... Manhattan. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tuesday 24 November 2015 03.30 EST Last modified on Thursday 25 May 2017 06.08 EDT
Does the massive foreign and national corporate buying of urban buildings and land that took off after the 2008 crisis signal an emergent new phase in major cities? From mid-2013 to mid-2014, corporate buying of existing properties exceeded $600bn (£395bn) in the top 100 recipient cities, and $1trillion a year later – and this figure includes only major acquisitions (eg. a minimum of $5m in the case of New York City).
I want to examine the details of this large corporate investment surge, and why it matters. Cities are the spaces where those without power get to make a history and a culture, thereby making their powerlessness complex. If the current large-scale buying continues, we will lose this type of making that has given our cities their cosmopolitanism.
Indeed, at the current scale of acquisitions, we are seeing a systemic transformation in the pattern of land ownership in cities: one that alters the historic meaning of the city. Such a transformation has deep and significant implications for equity, democracy and rights.
A city is a complex but incomplete system: in this mix lies the capacity of cities across histories and geographies to outlive far more powerful, but fully formalised, systems – from large corporations to national governments. London, Beijing, Cairo, New York, Johannesburg and Bangkok – to name but a few – have all outlived multiple types of rulers and of businesses.
In this mix of complexity and incompleteness lies the possibility for those without power to assert “we are here” and “this is also our city”. Or, as the legendary statement by the fighting poor in Latin American cities puts it, “Estamos presentes”: we are present, we are not asking for money, we are just letting you know that this is also our city.
It is in cities to a large extent where the powerless have left their imprint – cultural, economic, social: mostly in their own neighbourhoods, but eventually these can spread to a vaster urban zone as “ethnic” food, music, therapies and more.
If the current buying continues, we will lose the type of making that has given our cities their cosmopolitanism
All of this cannot happen in a business park, regardless of its density – they are privately controlled spaces where low-wage workers can work, but not “make”. Nor can this happen in the world’s increasingly militarised plantations and mines. It is only in cities where that possibility of gaining complexity in one’s powerlessness can happen – because nothing can fully control such a diversity of people and engagements.
Those with power to some extent do not want to be bothered by the poor, so the model is often to abandon them to their own devices. In some cities (for example, in the US and Brazil) there is extreme violence by police. Yet this can often become a public issue, which is perhaps a first step in the longer trajectories of gaining at least some rights. It is in cities where so many of the struggles for vindications have taken place, and have, in the long run, partly succeeded.
But it is this possibility – the capacity to make a history, a culture and so much more – that is today threatened by the surge in large-scale corporate re-development of cities.
It is easy to explain the post-2008 urban investment surge as “more of the same”. After all, the late 1980s also saw rapid growth of national and foreign buying of office buildings and hotels, especially in New York and London. In The Global City, I wrote about the large share of buildings in the City of London that were foreign-owned at the height of that phase.Financial firms from countries as diverse as Japan and the Netherlands found they needed a strong foothold in London’s City to access continental European capital and markets.
But an examination of the current trends shows some significant differences and points to a whole new phase in the character and logics of foreign and national corporate acquisitions. (I do not see much of a difference in terms of the urban impact between national and foreign investment. The key fact here is that both are corporate and large scale.) Four features stand out:
• The sharp scale-up in the buying of buildings, even in cities that have long been the object of such investments, notably NY and London. For instance, the Chinese have most recently emerged as major buyers in cities such as London and New York. Today there are about 100 cities worldwide that have become significant destinations for such acquisitions – foreign corporate buying of properties from 2013 to 2014 grew by 248% in Amsterdam/Randstadt, 180% in Madrid and 475% in Nanjing. In contrast, the growth rate was relatively lower for the major cities in each region: 68.5% for New York, 37.6% for London, and 160.8% for Beijing.
• The extent of new construction. The rapid-growth period of the 1980s and 90s was often about acquiring buildings – notably high-end Harrods in London, and Sachs Fifth Avenue and the Rockefeller Center in New York. In the post-2008 period, much buying of buildings is to destroy them and replace them with far taller, far more corporate and luxurious types of buildings – basically, luxury offices and luxury apartments.
• The spread of mega-projects with vast footprints that inevitably kill much urban tissue: little streets and squares, density of street-level shops and modest offices, and so on. These megaprojects raise the density of the city, but they actually de-urbanise it – and thereby bring to the fore the fact, easily overlooked in much commentary about cities, that density is not enough to have a city.
• The foreclosing on modest properties owned by modest-income households. This has reached catastrophic levels in the US, with Federal Reserve data showing that more than 14 million households have lost their homes from 2006 to 2014. One outcome is a significant amount of empty or under-occupied urban land, at least some of which is likely to be “re-developed”.
The proposed Atlantic Yards luxury residential towers in Brooklyn. Photograph: APA further striking feature of this period is the acquisition of whole blocks of underutilised or dead industrial land for site development. Here, the prices paid by buyers can get very high. One example is the acquisition of Atlantic Yards, a vast stretch of land in New York City by one of the largest Chinese building companies for $5bn. Currently, this land is occupied by a mixture of modest factories and industrial services, modest neighbourhoods, and artists’ studios and venues that have been pushed out of lower Manhattan by large-scale developments of high-rise apartment buildings.
Privatisation in the 90s has resulted in a reduction of public buildings and an escalation in large, corporate ownership
This very urban mix of occupants will be thrown out and replaced by 14 formidable luxury residential towers – a sharp growth of density that actually has the effect of de-urbanising that space. It will be a sort of de facto “gated” space with lots of people; not the dense mix of uses and types of people we think of as “urban”. This type of development is taking off in many cities – mostly with virtual walls, but sometimes also with real ones. I would argue that with this type of development, the virtual and the actual walls have similar impacts on de-urbanising pieces of a city.
The scale and the character of these investments are captured in the vast amounts spent on buying urban properties and land. Those global, corporate investments of $600bn from mid-2013 to mid-2014, and over 1tn from mid-2014 to mid 2015, were just to acquire existing buildings. The figure excludes site development, another major trend.
This proliferating urban gigantism has been strengthened and enabled by the privatisations and deregulations that took off in the 1990s across much of the world, and have continued since then with only a few interruptions. The overall effect has been a reduction in public buildings, and an escalation in large, corporate private ownership.
The result is a thinning in the texture and scale of spaces previously accessible to the public. Where before there was a government office building handling the regulations and oversight of this or that public economic sector, or addressing the complaints from the local neighbourhood, now there might be a corporate headquarters, a luxury apartment building or a guarded mall.
Global geographies of extraction have long been key to the western world’s economic development. And now these have moved on to urban land, going well beyond the traditional association with plantations and mines, even as these have been extended and made more brutally efficient.
A large city is a frontier zone where actors from different worlds can have an encounter with no rules of engagement
The corporatising of access and control over urban land has extended not only to high-end urban sites, but also to the land beneath the homes of modest households and government offices. We are witnessing an unusually large scale of corporate buying of whole pieces of cities in the last few years. The mechanisms for these extractions are often far more complex than the outcomes, which can be quite elementary in their brutality.
One key transformation is a shift from mostly small private to large corporate modes of ownership, and from public to private. This is a process that takes place in bits and pieces, some big and some small, and to some extent these practices have long been part of the urban land market and urban development. But today’s scale-up takes it all to a whole new dimension, one that alters the historic meaning of the city.
This is particularly so because what was small and/or public is becoming large and private. The trend is to move from small properties embedded in city areas that are crisscrossed by streets and small public squares, to projects that erase much of this public tissue of streets and squares via mega-projects with large, sometimes huge, footprints. This privatises and de-urbanises city space no matter the added density.
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There are moments in the routines of a city when we all become urban subjects ... Rush hour at King’s Cross station. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesLarge cities have long been complex and incomplete. This has enabled the incorporation of diverse people, logics, politics. A large, mixed city is a frontier zone where actors from different worlds can have an encounter for which there are no established rules of engagement, and where the powerless and the powerful can actually meet.
This also makes cities spaces of innovations, small and large. And this includes innovations by those without power: even if they do not necessarily become powerful in the process, they produce components of a city, thus leaving a legacy that adds to its cosmopolitanism – something that few other places enable.
Such a mix of complexity and incompleteness ensures a capacity to shape an urban subject and an urban subjectivity. It can partly override the religious subject, the ethnic subject, the racialised subject and, in certain settings, also the differences of class. There are moments in the routines of a city when we all become urban subjects – rush hour is one such mix of time and space.
But today, rather than a space for including people from many diverse backgrounds and cultures, our global cities are expelling people and diversity. Their new owners, often part-time inhabitants, are very international – but that does not mean they represent many diverse cultures and traditions. Instead, they represent the new global culture of the successful – and they are astoundingly homogeneous, no matter how diverse their countries of birth and languages. This is not the urban subject that our large, mixed cities have historically produced. This is, above all, a global “corporate” subject.
Much of urban change is inevitably predicated on expelling what used to be. Since their beginnings, whether 3,000 years old or 100, cities have kept reinventing themselves, which means there are always winners and losers. Urban histories are replete with accounts of those who were once poor and quasi-outsiders, or modest middle classes, that gained ground – because cities have long accommodated extraordinary variety.
But today’s large-scale corporate buying of urban space in its diverse instantiations introduces a de-urbanising dynamic. It is not adding to mixity and diversity. Instead it implants a whole new formation in our cities – in the shape of a tedious multiplication of high-rise luxury buildings.
One way of putting it is that this new set of implants contains within it a logic all of its own – one which cannot be tamed into becoming part of the logics of the traditional city. It keeps its full autonomy and, one might say, gives us all its back. And that does not look pretty.