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…
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.
This year's volume of Political Power and Social Theory marks the end of my tenure as Editor. I thank the editorial board and all our dedicated readers for making this journal a leading venue for high quality scholarship in comparative and historical social science. I look forward to seeing the series continue under new leadership. The upcoming articles explore a variety of questions relating to states, citizenship and power, common themes examined with divergent analytical entry points and through deep knowledge of country cases as diverse as Russia, Germany, the United States, Israel, South Africa, Argentina and key nations in early modern Europe. Whether examined with a focus on revolutions and political parties, or cities and their physical and social transformation, or through development of the concept of the “familial state,” which marries a preoccupation with lineage and micro-cultures to that of national-state institutions, these articles expand our theoretical and methodological imagination of how citizens become included or excluded in local and national structures of power.