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Parks for Profit: Selling Nature in the City

Kevin Loughran, 0231194048, 9780231194044, 978-0231194044

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English | 2022 | PDF

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A new kind of city park has emerged in the early twenty-first century.  Postindustrial parks transform the derelict remnants of an urban past  into distinctive public spaces that meld repurposed infrastructure,  wild-looking green space, and landscape architecture. For their  proponents, they present an opportunity to turn disused areas into  neighborhood anchors, with a host of environmental and community  benefits. Yet there are clear economic motives as well―successful parks  have helped generate billions of dollars of city tax revenues and real  estate development.

Kevin Loughran explores the High Line in New  York, the Bloomingdale Trail/606 in Chicago, and Buffalo Bayou Park in  Houston to offer a critical perspective on the rise of the  postindustrial park. He reveals how elites deploy the popularity and  seemingly benign nature of parks to achieve their cultural, political,  and economic goals. As urban economies have become restructured around  finance, real estate, tourism, and cultural consumption, parks serve as  civic shields for elite-oriented investment. Tracing changing ideas  about cities and nature and underscoring the centrality of race and  class, Loughran argues that postindustrial parks aestheticize past  disinvestment while serving as green engines of gentrification.

A  wide-ranging investigation of the political, cultural, and economic  forces shaping park development, Parks for Profit reveals the social  inequalities at the heart of today’s new urban landscape.