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Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places Reprint Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199794461
ISBN-10: 0199794464
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"This is scholarship with its boots on the ground, challenging us to look at the familiar in a new light." --The Boston Globe


"A highly readable narrative...a revelation, no matter where you live."
--The Austin Chronicle


"Provocative." --San Francisco Chronicle


"Astutely describes the conflict between "original" features of a neighborhood that seem to have been there forever and new ones that each new generation creates...cogent and accessible."--The New York Times


"Zukin is a good noticer, and an entertaining tour guide to the ambivalent ravages of gentrification...The strengths of Naked City lie in Zukin's acute eye, her attentive ear for shifts in the way we talk about cities, and her evocative sympathy for the longtime residents of neighborhoods such as Williamsburg, Harlem, Red Hook, and her own East Village...Zukin offers a compelling account of how a certain kind of success spoils cities--and some eminently sensible, if politically radical, ideas about how to preserve people along with buildings."--Times Literary Supplement


"Twenty-first century urbanists have been working with twentieth-century frameworks--I suspected it, and Sharon Zukin has articulated my suspicions, and more. Her book makes an essential compass, like those of Naomi Klein, Walter Benn Michaels, and Douglas Rushkoff, for citizens wrestling with the mercurial force of 'late capitalism' not only in their brains, but in their neighborhoods, workplaces, classrooms, and at the local store."--Jonathan Lethem, author of Chronic City


"You can count on cities to fascinate, and you can count on Sharon Zukin to make sense of it for us. Naked City looks at the strange beauty of New York City's nooks and crannies to find universal experiences, un-told stories, and small wonders. Zukin is a brilliant analyst cum tour guide, and the writing is simply captivating."--Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day


"Sharon Zukin's Naked City is a must read for two reasons: For many of us who once lived in New York, but have been gone for many years, Zukin brings us up to date with vivid and peopled descriptions of the city's streets and neighborhoods. And for us sociologists, no matter our connection to New York, Zukin uses the city to persuasively show that the longing for authenticity is as much about us as it about the places that are always changing around us. It is a wonderfully smart argument that will likely become the definitive statement on this topic. Naked City combines the best of keen urban observations and broad attention to the politics, economics, and culture of places to yield a book that, once you start reading, you will find it hard to put down."--Mary Pattillo, author of Black on the Block


"Zukin provides us with a sound analysis that can be appreciated not only by social scientists and planners, but also by suburbanites and small town residents." --Contemporary Sociology


About the Author


Sharon Zukin is Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. She is the author of Loft Living (the classic book on SoHo's gentrification), Landscapes of Power (winner of the C. Wright Mills Award), The Cultures of Cities, and Point of Purchase.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (May 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199794464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199794461
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Henry De la Cruz on December 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sharon Zukin, it seems, spent quite a while walking around New York. So, as the first three or four chapters (which is about half the book) indicate, she seems to have figured out more or less the formula for gentrification in this city: First you have a working class neighborhood equipped with old, mixed-use buildings and typically having a predominantly ethnic group. Second you have artists and/or creative types deeming such place as "authentic" and setting up shop in these low-rent neighborhoods. Third you have a thriving art scene that attracts new residents, as well as coverage either by the New York Times, the New Yorker, or any other publication that yuppies simply cannot resist. This all eventually leads to a ridiculous rise in property value, displacing both the original group that inhabited the neighborhood and the artists and/or creative types that brought it to prominence.
Of course there are variations to this formula. There is mention of private groups banding together to broker private control of public spaces, with the ultimate goal being high-end commercial attractiveness. As a New Yorker I found all this information relevant. I have been to most of these neighborhoods that Zukin describes, and have seen the rapid growth of these areas, specially Harlem. What bothered me about this book is that it took 'til the last few pages before she mentioned any other city besides New York. So, in that sense, any non-New Yorker may not find anything too relatable or familiar. It isn't up until the last third of the book, that the message becomes broader, and begins to deal with the issue of shared spaces. However, the idea presented in this book on authenticity, and whether there is such a thing as an authentic urban place, are ones I find worthy of reflection.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very useful viewpoint of how New York ( and related large cities have dealt ( or not dealt) with progressive change in its neighborhoods. By looking closer at Brooklyn, Harlem, East Village, Union Square, Red Hook, neighborhood gardens the author illustrates the relentlessness of change and how city approaches can help or hinder that. What is interesting is that when a neighborhood moves from gritty to cool, then gentrification and rising property values will follow, at some time or another. The author does not forget her history with notes on the likes of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses as well as notable mayors and their impacts. Good grounding for the urbanest.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fun, readable book with an interesting take on urban places.
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