Read, Reflect, Revitalize: What We’re Reading, In-Depth!

In addition to reading all the things, it’s important to give yourself time to digest and reflect on what you consumed.  Every month we’ll share and summarize something from our library in hopes to foster understanding and ignite conversation. Here are some key takeaways in this month’s, What We’re Reading, In-Depth!

Book: “How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood”

Author: Peter Moskowitz

“How to Kill a City” provides a compelling exploration of the intricate ways in which urban development, gentrification, and economic policies can transform vibrant communities into unrecognizable landscapes. Through a series of case studies in cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and New York, author Peter Moskowitz delves into the consequences of unchecked urban development and the displacement of long-standing residents.

Here are a some new (and not so new) ways interrupt the negative outcomes of gentrification (all in one place!)

  • Recognize Power Dynamics: There is value in understanding power dynamics in urban development. Practitioners should be aware of how decisions made by those in authority can disproportionately affect marginalized communities.  (Name it!)
  • Address Housing Inequality: The book highlights the detrimental impact of rising housing costs and displacement on communities. Practitioners should focus on implementing affordable housing initiatives to maintain the socioeconomic diversity of neighborhoods. (Do it!)
  • Community Engagement is Essential: Moskowitz stresses the significance of involving residents in decision-making processes. Practitioners should prioritize community engagement to ensure that development plans align with the actual needs and desires of the people who live in the affected areas. (Scream it and then do it well and often!)
  • Protect Cultural Traditions: The book underscores the importance of preserving the cultural fabric of communities undergoing development. Practitioners should work to safeguard local businesses, traditions, and historical landmarks to maintain a sense of identity within neighborhoods. (Honor it!)
  • Advocate for Equitable Policies: Moskowitz advocates for policies that prioritize equity. Community development practitioners should actively support and promote policies that address systemic inequalities, ensuring that the benefits of urban development are shared by all residents. (Reassess and redress it!)

In short, “How to Kill a City”  urges readers to approach community development work with a nuanced understanding of the social, economic, and cultural dynamics that exist within a city. Doing so prepares us for a more holistic, inclusive, and sustainable practice for those committed to building resilient, vibrant communities that thrive without sacrificing the well-being of residents.