So who’s really to blame for urban gentrification? It’s not who you think | Monday Morning Coffee

April 1, 2019 7:12 am

So who’s really to blame for urban gentrification nationwide? Upwardly mobile hipsters with their artisan butcher shops and craft cocktails? Empty nesters fleeing the ‘burbs for walkable neighborhoods and easy access to public recreation? Big-bucks developers looking to cash in?

Or is it some combination of all three?

In a new book, Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State,” author Samuel Steinargues that it’s none of the above.

According to Stein“the state is ‘a central actor’ in gentrification,” Tanner Howard writes for CityLab“Planners lure developers and landlords with land-use and tax incentives on the one hand, while enticing new residents and shoppers with amenities on the other—all of which push prices up. “A planner’s mission is to imagine a better world, but their day-to-day work involves producing a more profitable one.

So how does that happen?

As Howard notes, “Stein argues that the combined forces of development, finance, and a global elite parking its wealth in luxury housing swamp planners’ best intentions. With most industrial activity now pushed outside of city limits and public services dependent on property taxes, real estate, he contends, has come to dominate urban planning; the technology and finance sectors are beholden to it and offer no political counterweight.”

The full CityLab piece, which includes a lengthy interview with Stein, who’s a planner and an instructor at Hunter College in New York City, is well worth your time this Monday morning. It offers a fascinating look at the forces now driving urban development and offers some prescriptions for a cure.

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso 
previews Tuesday’s special election in W.Pa’s 37th Senate District.
For Women’s History MonthSarah Anne Hughes chatted with First Lady Frances Wolf about some game-changing Pennsylvania women.
We sat down with Attorney General Josh Shapiro for a long talk about, well, everything.
Elizabeth Hardison explains why the Legislature opens its voting sessions with a prayer – and why that’s not unconstitutional.

On the Opinion side of the House, Dick Polman lays out what he says is Donald Trump’s newest big lie. And a West Virginia University political scientist wonders if there’s a way to impose Medicaid work requirements without hurting the poor.

Donald Trump has turned this suburban Philly bookstore into a battlegroundMaria Panaritis writes for The Inquirer.
Longtime regional PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny is calling it a career and looking forward to the next adventureLancasterOnline reports.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will give a speech at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle today, PennLive reports.
Ex-Reading Mayor Vaughan Spencer’s assistant will be sentenced in a bribery caseThe Morning Call reports.
Police are ‘not an invading army,’ in protests after the Rosfeld verdict, The Post-Gazette reports.
The Tribune-Review has some pointers for Monday’s Pirates home opener.

What Happens on Twitter:

BillyPenn has the contents of ‘Philly’s $4 billion checkbook.’
The USDA has public comment on proposed changes to food stamps. Next up – reading it all,WHYY-FM reports.
A federal appeals court has upheld vacating some convictions for the ‘Kids for Cash’ judgeThe Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).
Four in 10 homeless people are looks at why that’s the case.
Dem primary candidates are expressing sympathy for the woman accusing ex-Veep Joe Biden of impropriety, Politico reports.
Here’s Roll Call on how districts in Indiana and Minnesota explain the 2020 race for Congress.

Here’s a very scenic #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

What Goes On.
The House and Senate are both out of session until April 8.
The House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees hold a joint hearing on SR6 – which deals with volunteer firefighters – at 1 p.m. in G50 Irvis.

Gov. Tom Wolf 
makes an 8:30 a.m. appearance at the Hilton, where he’ll pitch his RestorePA program to the Pa. Municipal League.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Sen. Dan Laughlin
 holds an 11:30 a.m. reception at PNC Park during the Pirates’ home opener.  Admission runs from a merely offensive $1,000 all the way up to a truly appalling $10,000.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to PennLive social media maven, Hope Stephan, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day. Have a birthday wish? Email us at [email protected]

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one that popped up on shuffle on Sunday afternoon. It’s ‘Let Go,’ by RAC.

Monday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Carolina dropped a 3-1 decision to Pittsburgh on the road Sunday.  But we’re still in the Wild Card hunt.

And now you’re up to date. 

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.