We are the billionaire buildings of NYC's Hudson Yards... Charles Mudede
On March 8, Seattle Times
's astute real estate reporter Mike Rosenberg wrote that the waterfront area has become the next "gold rush." Big-money investors are moving in and expecting a terrific boom in property values. And so, what we have is something that, despite its origins in public feeling, has the potential of becoming its complete opposite: a site of exclusion. This development would be a dub (echoes) of what's happening right now in the area around New York City's High Line
, a Manhattan project that was inspired by public spirit (Friends of the High Line
), but upon its completion of its first phase in 2009, was almost immediately captured by a market that has as its logic the rapid and otherworldly inflation of asset values. The similarities between the fate of the High Line and the future of Seattle's Waterfront Project
are striking. Rosenberg writes that "even before the Alaskan Way Viaduct finally comes down, the gold rush to cash in on soaring property values in the area is in full swing."
This week is the week for Seattle to think about the Waterfront project
—which has already buried billions of dollars—because the first phase of a massive development located at the north end of the High Line, the Hudson Yards, just opened and has stunned the public and critics not with its unrestrained expression of corporate power, but its obvious obscenity. Here we have, without a doubt, a form of city planning that must be described as billionaire urbanism. It's the terminal point of neoliberal urbanism. It's soon coming to Seattle's waterfront.
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