The internet and the city: Blogging and gentrification on New York's lower east side

Political Power and Social Theory

ISBN: 978-0-76231-418-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-545-1

ISSN: 0198-8719

Publication date: 7 September 2008

Abstract

This article relates the recent rise of weblogs and examines their relationship to processes of urban transformation. Specifically, it looks at the history of Curbed.com, a weblog created in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan that presents a layman's perspective on real estate development and neighborhood change. Curbed began in 2001 as the personal blog of a local resident documenting the gentrification taking hold on the blocks surrounding his walk-up tenement apartment. It has since become more established, expanding to cover development in other New York neighborhoods and spawning franchises in San Francisco and Los Angeles. This inquiry seeks to examine what influence, if any, Curbed.com has had upon the neighborhood transition it has closely charted. This question is one aspect of larger questions about the relationship between virtual space and urban space; about the impact of growing use of the internet on the city. Has Curbed been a neutral observer of neighborhood change as it professes? By raising awareness of the processes underlying urban transition, has it provided any opportunities for community action to buffer gentrification? Or is the opposite true – have it and other neighborhood blogs contributed to the new desirability and market value of the Lower East Side? I would argue that although Curbed.com has increased the ability of local residents to understand the changes taking place around them, in the end it has helped accelerate gentrification by repositioning a site of local culture within a global market.

Citation

Belkind, L. (2008), "The internet and the city: Blogging and gentrification on New York's lower east side", Davis, D. and Proenza-Coles, C. (Ed.) Political Power and Social Theory (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 207-233. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0198-8719(08)19006-8

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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