From Urban Village to East Village. The Battle for New York's Lower East Side

  • ID: 2246456
  • Book
  • Region: New York
  • 404 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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This landmark study explores a new reality in today′s inner cities – one that diverges radically from the dominant models of either the urban village, with its shared culture, or the disorganized zone of urban anomie.

Growing numbers of inner city neighbourhoods now contain populations drawn from a multiplicity of ethnicities, subcultures, and classes. These groups may share physical space, but they pursue disparate ways of life and hold very different views of their neighbourhood′s future. Such areas have become contested turf – arenas of heated political struggle.

Nowhere has this struggle been so complexly joined than in the East Village on New York′s Lower East Side. For over two decades, established and new immigrants, community activists, hippies, squatters, yuppies, developers, drug dealers, artists, the homeless, and the police have been battling for control of the district and its central meeting ground, Tompkins Square Park.

Based on five years of research and participant observation, this book gives a vivid account of the contestants and their struggles in the battle for the Lower East Side. It is a battle which is likely to be replicated, perhaps less violently, in many other parts of urban America.

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"[a] fascinating book ...From Urban Village to East Village is a formidable achievement." Progress in Human Geography ./ "As one who has done community studies, my first reaction to Janet Abu–Lughod′s ambitious volume about New York′s Lower East Side was frankly one of jealousy. I envy her the cadre of able student ethnographers that she was able to field. I envy the colleagues from various disciplines–political scientist Diana Gordon, photographer Marlis Momber, architectural historian Richard Plunz, and geographer Neil Simth–who she draws on to fill in the gaps in the student accounts. I envy her this research site–no doubt among the most politically contested and sociologically complex two square miles of real estate in America. Mostly, I suppose I envy her nerve. Not surprisingly, Abu–lughod was new to New York when she began this project. It is hard to imagine anyone more immersed in the local political culture taking on an area so historically dense. What is surprising is how generally successful the resulting volume is."Philip Kasinitz, AJS Vol 101 No 5

"From Urban Village to East Village: The Battle for New York′s Lower East Side works towards bridging this troubling gap in the literature by examining stuggles over urban space on Manhattan′s Lower East Side. The result of a collaborative research project directed by Janet Abu–Lughod, the volume situates recent and highly publicized conflicts over housing and public space on the Lower East Side within an interdisciplinary analysis of the neighborhood′s changing relationship to the city′s political economy... The volume′s refreshingly political analysis of contests over urban space, too complex to treat fully here, underscores both the rewards of collaborative research and the importance of grounding our analyses of urban restructuring in particular palces in the multiple arenas of political practice where space is invested with cultural meaning and economic value."
Steven Gregory, Urban

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