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Official Reactions to Graffiti in New York City: Making Spaces of Distinction
Unformatted Document Text:  focused on the material/social effects of ‘growth machines’. Along these lines, previous research indicates that in cities where over-development inflates the value of land, those who are most disadvantaged include small property owners and renters (Zukin, 1991); small business owners (Logan and Molotch, 1987); low-income households (Massey and Denton, 1993); and those who live around or below the poverty line (Smith, 1996). In short, the working classes and those subject to other forms of social marginalization are the groups most adversely affected by over-development. Neil Smith (1996) and Mike Davis (1990) have pushed this line of analysis even further and suggested that as over-development generates areas of concentrated privilege the need to defend such ‘enclaves’ also arises. On the one hand, many people will be displaced by rising rents and find other locations in which to live and work. On the other, some will stay and come to be perceived as a threat. This perception often translates into an over-policing of certain neighborhoods, the militarization of public space, and draconian uses of the law (See also Parenti, 1999; Castells, 1983). Many of the discoveries made by these and other urban sociologists are corroborated by our own empirical sources. That the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, like most city level political administrations, have often worked in collaboration with the private sector in determining the ways in which urban spaces will be put to use is no secret. Of course, these partnerships are often accompanied by a discourse which seeks to bestow upon them legitimacy by claiming that when the public and private sectors work together ‘all New Yorkers benefit’ (Giuliani Files, 3/23/1995, 8/21/1995, 11/6/1995; Bloomberg Files, 1/23/2003, 6/22/2003). However, in accordance with the critical analyses of urban sociologists, it becomes very difficult to accept as plausible the notion 21

Authors: Kramer, Ronald.
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focused on the material/social effects of ‘growth machines’. Along these lines, previous 
research indicates that in cities where over-development inflates the value of land, those 
who are most disadvantaged include small property owners and renters (Zukin, 1991); 
small business owners (Logan and Molotch, 1987); low-income households (Massey and 
Denton, 1993); and those who live around or below the poverty line (Smith, 1996). In 
short, the working classes and those subject to other forms of social marginalization are 
the groups most adversely affected by over-development. 
     Neil Smith (1996) and Mike Davis (1990) have pushed this line of analysis even 
further and suggested that as over-development generates areas of concentrated privilege 
the need to defend such ‘enclaves’ also arises. On the one hand, many people will be 
displaced by rising rents and find other locations in which to live and work. On the other, 
some will stay and come to be perceived as a threat. This perception often translates into 
an over-policing of certain neighborhoods, the militarization of public space, and 
draconian uses of the law (See also Parenti, 1999; Castells, 1983).
     Many of the discoveries made by these and other urban sociologists are corroborated 
by our own empirical sources. That the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, like 
most city level political administrations, have often worked in collaboration with the 
private sector in determining the ways in which urban spaces will be put to use is no 
secret. Of course, these partnerships are often accompanied by a discourse which seeks to 
bestow upon them legitimacy by claiming that when the public and private sectors work 
together ‘all New Yorkers benefit’ (Giuliani Files, 3/23/1995, 8/21/1995, 11/6/1995; 
Bloomberg Files, 1/23/2003, 6/22/2003). However, in accordance with the critical 
analyses of urban sociologists, it becomes very difficult to accept as plausible the notion 
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