“Manhattanization” loses cachet for U.S. cities

October 24, 2013 06:11PM

“Manhattanization,” once a byword for style and progress, has in recent years become a euphemism for the creation of soulless luxury playgrounds for the 1 percent that disregard a city’s poor and middle-income inhabitants.

New York City, on the cusp of electing a replacement for Wall Street- and developer-loving Mayor Michael Bloomberg, isn’t alone in efforts to shift gears on a flurry of high-end housing development, the New Yorker’s Currency blog reported. Boston, gearing up to elect a new mayor at the end of Thomas Menino’s 20-year reign, has also warned about a city increasingly “for the very rich and the very poor.”

Towing that line, candidates are vowing to keep Boston from becoming “another Manhattan.”

San Francisco is also eyeing controversial measures on November’s ballot, on which voters will decide on a developer’s plans to replace a waterfront parking lot and tennis club with luxury condominiums that would ask $5 million per unit. Mayor Edwin Lee is an advocate of the plan, despite community opposition, citing increased tax revenues for the city.

Even Manhattanites themselves have rallied behind mayoral frontrunner Bill de Blasio’s “A Tale of Two Cities” message, in which he spoke of “a city that has worked very well for our city’s elite, but one that’s left millions of everyday New Yorkers behind.” [New Yorker]Julie Strickland