Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution
Cities have long been the pivotal sites of political revolutions, where deeper currents of social and political change are fleshed out. Consequently, they have been the subject of much utopian thinking about alternatives. But at the same time, they are also the centers of capital accumulation, and therefore the frontline for struggles over who has the right to the city, an...more
And it's really in this second part where you get some serious originality of thought. Harvey has absolutely no patience for naïve optimism or the sort of hier ...more
For me, this book was a real coming-together of scattered bits of thought that have been gathering for some time now, about rent-as-debt, cultural production as a force in gentrification, and organizing around living issues (housing, quality of life) as central to labor and anti-capitalist organizing. At the same time, it was a useful challenge to certain habits of thought I've developed and language I sometimes use a little ...more
Harvey provides a ...more
From 1925 (the year in which a strong Schilling currency replaced the devalued Krone) to 1934, more than 60,000 new flats were built in so-called Gemeindebau ("community construction") buildings. Large blocks were situated around green courts, for instance at Karl-Marx-Hof (one of the hot spots in the civil war of 1934) or at George Washington Court. The tenants of the new flats were chosen on the basis of a ranking system in which e.g. persons with handicaps got extra points to be chosen earlie ...more
There is one paragraph that has stuck with me and that's near the end of the book when he describes how capitalism has gone feral. As a teac ...more
Or at least that is Harvey's claim. In Rebel Cities he sets up a concise argument to convince the reader that the urban form is, and has been since its origins, a creation of accumulated capital. He says this becomes particularly clear after the French Revolution when Napoleon commissioned Haussmann to renovate Paris. Why would Napoleon do that? Well, there were a lot of rich French people who needed to ...more
In 'Rebel Cities', David Harvey re-examines and interprets the basis of capitalist accumulation to show its essentially urban roots. This is certainly a wide and sweeping project and it is largely convincing.
Harvey builds on the work of Henri Lefebvre, a French Marxist who wrote in the 1960s. Lefebvre coined or popularized the phrase “right to the city. ...more
The edition I read includes a short chapter on the Occupy movement, which was perhaps more optimistic about that movement than was truly warranted, but which certainly is worth investigating.
Overall I strongly recommend this bo ...more
Easily the worst thing I've read by this normally insightful and profound thinker, but not a bad book per se. I wish I could've given it ...more
A bit too hopeful though, as much as any socialist literature was coming out of 2011. What with Occupy and the Arab Spring and riots in London. It's sad to see people pontificating about a turning point when you're reading in 2013 and not much has changed.