The suddenly infamous megadevelopment of Hudson Yards may not just be a crisis for architecture and urbanism

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“If you hadn’t heard of it before, you’ve almost certainly now heard of Hudson Yards. But if you’re not a New Yorker already paying close attention to the constant churn of the city’s real estate industry, you’d be correct to wonder why there’s all this noise all of a sudden, and where it’s coming from.

Judging by recent, justifiably critical profiles in mainstream outlets such as New York Magazine, the New York Times, or Forbes (Forbes!), it would seem as if the Yards rose fully-formed out the Hudson River — a fable brought to life to teach us all familiar lessons about the hubris of extreme wealth and its exercise of power over the built environment; the dangers of developer-led urbanism and exclusive enclaves; the absurdity of public dollars subsidizing infrastructure to support a neighborhood marketed to precisely no one making less than six figures; the civic emptiness, spectacle and ableism of you-know-what.

It’s true that these particular inequities are worth pulling apart and critically unpacking. But it’s also true that many of the most damning object lessons and spatial logics of Hudson Yards are present elsewhere throughout New York City’s economically segregated landscape (perhaps in less exaggerated form), as well as in ultra-wealthy urban enclaves throughout the world (perhaps in even more exaggerated form). Beyond its gilded affect, the Yards is, in fact, more a Platonic expression of existing neoliberal urban political economy than any especially unique outlier. Some writers have been astute in pointing this out, others not so much.”

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