The Neoliberal Takeover of the City

The Neoliberal Takeover of the City

We were originally going to compare the municipality of Utrecht’s budget for large “prestige projects” to that for poorer residential neighbourhoods. However, we discovered that the municipality hardly plays any role in financing urban development anymore. Nearly all development is financed and handled by private real estate companies and “woningcorporaties”.

How did that happen, what are the effects of this privatization on living standards, and what can we do about it? That will be the new topic we will explore together. We’ve picked the following literature for you to read:

Privatising Europe: Using the Crisis to Entrench Neoliberalism

This first text introduces the history of privatization, neoliberalism and their relation to the current financial crisis.

David Harvey – Neoliberalism and the City

This second text uses the neoliberal takeover of New York City in the 1970s and Mexico in the 1980s as examples to illustrate what effects these developments have on the lives of cities’ inhabitants.

A Guide to Participatory Budgeting

This text explores an alternative way to approach city planning and budgeting, based on directly involving citizens in policymaking.

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