Monday, March 07, 2011

New book, "The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn," an interview with the author, some AY echoes, and some AKRF duplicity

Do you think Atlantic Yards was the first community clash regarding such things as gentrification, affordable housing, and "Manhattanization" of Brooklyn?

It may be the largest, but it sure wasn't the first. Such tensions have been threaded through the remarkable transformation of the borough's row-house neighborhoods, as chronicled in Suleiman Osman's new book, The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification and the Search for Authenticity in Postwar New York.

I have an article about the book today in Patch. Also see an excerpt from the book's introduction and an interview in Dwell (and discussion on Brownstoner).

The book is a reminder of how much changed in Brooklyn without government intervention, and also how that spirit made those who changed Brooklyn suspicious of such intervention.

That said, the resistance to Atlantic Yards has gone well beyond knee-jerk and NIMBY, since many of those sympathetic to government intervention draw the line at this version.

Remember AKRF?

The book is also a reminder of--as I wrote more than four-and-a-half years ago--how the ubiquitous environmental consultant AKRF, in its very selective history for the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement, emphasized governmental investment in urban renewal, including condemnation, without acknowledging the parallel process in Brownstone Brooklyn of mostly private reinvestment and revival via historic preservation, which was hastened by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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