The City Builders
Property Development in New York and London, 1980-2000
Susan S. Fainstein
In the last twenty years, urban centers worldwide have experienced enormous booms and busts as real-estate developers, financial institutions, and public officials first poured resources into physical redevelopment, then watched as the market collapsed before booming again in the 1990s. In this extensively revised edition of her highly regarded The City Builders, Susan Fainstein examines major redevelopment efforts in New York and London to uncover the forces behind these investment cycles and the role that public policy can play in moderating market instability.
Fainstein chronicles the progress of three development projects in New York (Times Square, downtown Brooklyn, and Battery Park City) and three in London (King's Cross, Spitalfields, and Docklands). Analyzing the political and economic processes underlying physical changes in these two cities during the last two decades, she uncovers the role played by developers' perceptions and strategies in their interactions with both public policy-makers and property markets. This new edition follows each development effort to the present and places the discussion in a newly strengthened theoretical framework.
“Fainstein’s updating of her work will retain the book’s position at the forefront of urban development literature.”
—Planning Theory & Practice
“A truly exceptional book. Fainstein provides a rich theoretical standpoint to question the complex relationship that exists between politicians, community groups, developers, financiers, activists, and others in urban redevelopment.”
—Urban Affairs ReviewSee all reviews...
“Fainstein writes a very fascinating story about real estate development in New York and London. She gives not only attention to the role of local governmental authorities, the impact of globalisation, and the changing built environment of cities but also to the role of individuals in that process. This study is an essential reading for students in urban sociology, economic and planning. Instead of being outdated by the events of September 11 this study may teach us preeminently how to understand what is happening today, noting how real estate companies like Silverstein and others are already active and eager to make their profits in Lower Manhattan.”
“An utterly unique book that offers new, powerful arguments about the interaction between governmental authority and property investment in the urban environment, the impact of globalization on urban economies, and the role of property markets in changing the built environment of cities.”
—Dennis R. Judd, coauthor of City Politics
“A fascinating and important story that challenges conventional, radical and post-modern theories of property development.”
—Michael Harloe, coauthor of City Class and Capital
“This is, more than ever, essential reading for any serious student of the contemporary city.”
—Peter Hall, author of Cities in CivilizationSee fewer reviews...
In her investigation of the convergence between London and New York during the 1980s and then the divergence that began in the 1990s, Fainstein traces similarities and differences in the effects of globalization, ideology, and institutional structure in each city's experience. This comparative framework also sheds considerable light on the contributing roles of structure and agency in creating final outcomes.
Fainstein concludes by assessing the impact of "theme park" development on the urban fabric and recommending a set of realistic strategies to both redevelop cities and improve the lives of urban residents.