Bloomberg's New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury by Julian Brash

By Julian Brash

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg claims to run the town like a company. In Bloomberg’s New York, Julian Brash applies tools from anthropology, geography, and different social technology disciplines to envision what that suggests. He describes the mayor’s perspective towards governance because the Bloomberg Way—a philosophy that holds up the mayor as CEO, executive as a personal company, fascinating citizens and companies as shoppers and consumers, and town itself as a product to be branded and advertised as a luxurious good.
Commonly represented as pragmatic and nonideological, the Bloomberg means, Brash argues, is in truth an formidable reformulation of neoliberal governance that advances particular type pursuits. He considers the results of this in a blow-by-blow account of the controversy over the Hudson Yards plan, which aimed to remodel Manhattan’s a ways west facet into the city’s subsequent nice high-end district. Bringing this plan to fruition proved strangely tough as activists and entrenched pursuits driven again opposed to the Bloomberg management, suggesting that regardless of Bloomberg’s luck in redrawing the foundations of city governance, older political arrangements—and possibilities for social justice—remain.

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Extra info for Bloomberg's New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City

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As they did so, they interpreted policy problems and formulated their solutions in ways consistent with their professional and class-inflected skills, desires, ideas, and experience. This injected 20 • introduction class directly into the workings of city government, which had two effects. It “deepened” (Geertz 1973) urban governance for members of the postindustrial elite in city hall, transforming what might otherwise have been relatively bloodless areas of policy and policy conflicts into matters bearing directly on their experience, identity, and status.

The next few decades saw this dynamic repeat itself as coalitions of middle-class reformers and private-sector elites periodically pushed back against the “excesses” of political machines more friendly to working-class interests and supportive of higher levels of municipal spending (Shefter 1992). In the post–World War II period this cycle ended, as the local state’s placation of corporate and real estate interests preempted the necessity for direct elite intervention into urban governance. Thus began a process of change as this period of political stability and shared economic growth came to an end.

The second section of this work, consisting of chapters 3 through 5, shifts the focus to the Bloomberg administration. Chapters 3 and 4 address the Bloomberg Way itself, which explicitly conceived of the mayor as a ceo, the city as a corporation, businesses and residents as clients, and the city itself as a product. Chapter 3 lays out the ways in which the first two elements of the Bloomberg Way were manifested in city policy; chapter 4 outlines the manifestation in policy of the second two elements of the Bloomberg Way.

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