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The Sustainability MythEnvironmental Gentrification and the Politics of Justice$
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Melissa Checker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479835089

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479835089.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Sustainability and the City

Sustainability and the City

(p.21) 1 Sustainability and the City
The Sustainability Myth

Melissa Checker

NYU Press

This chapter establishes the book’s key theoretical premises, including capitalist cycles of crisis and resolution (Marx), double-bind theory (Bateson), the spatial fix (Harvey), and capitalism and schizophrenia (Deleuze and Guattari). Using New York City as an example, it discusses how city leaders resolved economic crises through the continual exploitation of natural and human resources. The constant remaking of urban neighborhoods fueled the city’s economic engine, especially as the city shifted to a real estate-based economy. Towards the end of the twentieth century, this real estate imperative coincided with increased public concern about the dangers of climate change. The broad appeal of sustainability provided the perfect cover for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s neoliberal agenda to recreate New York as a luxury city. But just as Bloomberg’s emphasis on private industry intensified the gap between the city’s rich and poor it also unevenly distributed environmental benefits and burdens.

Keywords:   capitalist cycles, climate change, double-bind theory, Michael Bloomberg, neoliberalism, New York City, real estate, schizophrenia, spatial fix

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