“Aestheticization” and Gentrification – Zach

I am focusing on how efforts to “aestheticize” or “greenify” cities can be construed as gentrificative forces.  Focusing on three major urban projects whose primary intentions are to re-introduce and incorporate “green” landscapes back into urban spaces, my goal is to analyze and determine a number of things: whether or not urban greening is detrimental to the longevity of a certain class of people living around a green space; if green parks include or exclude certain socioeconomic classes, if (re-)introducing a certain aesthetic to a neighborhood that has been depleted of any “tasteful” aesthetic is destructive to neighborhoods’ resilience via promoting gentrification.  So far, I am focusing on the High Line in New York and the French Quarter in New Orleans.

The High Line is obvious – since the “green” park was built, real estate around the High Line has skyrocketed, excluding the working- and lower-classes from living near this space.  Do hot projects such as the High Line create spaces that are covertly exclusionary?  Do parks and projects that attract the young and bourgeois also limit access?

The French Quarter in New Orleans is a consciously aestheticized neighborhood meant to attract tourists.  Due to its specific (created) sense of place, the French Quarter is a gentrified neighborhood because it so blatantly appeals to the “non-neighborhood.”  I am still reading an essay on the French Quarter and gentrification, so I am at this time unable to give sufficient information on my findings.

I also need to find a third project to focus on… does anyone know of a park or public space that has been constructed in poorer neighborhoods that ultimately excludes the members of those neighborhoods?

Through researching these projects, I will try to come to a conclusion to see if aestheticizing and greenifying urban landscapes is detrimental to the residents of those landscapes, or exclusionary to certain types of visitors.  I will then take my findings and come to a conclusion of whether or not the Fall Kills Project could be beneficial to unifying what seem to be broken neighborhoods surrounding the creek, or if it could have potentially dangerous consequences in the long run, as far as social politics are concerned.  Please let me know if you have any thoughts or projects that I should seek out!!!


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