Political Ecologies of Austerity
This chapter considers how the discursive and technical treatment of land as empty and private property as a civilizing mechanism on the frontier extends through technologies of property in ways that facilitate large-scale green redevelopment schemes. It analyzes how vacancy is categorically and strategically deployed within a racialized assemblage of interests, forms of expertise, governmental techniques, and knowledges aimed at revaluing urban space under late capitalism. Specifically, the chapter tells the story of a proprietary market assessment called the Market Value Analysis that officials are using in cities across the country to make critical decisions about which neighborhoods to target for investment and disinvestment. If industrial labor defined Detroit’s economy and land-use planning decisions in the twentieth century, the Market Value Analysis illuminates the extent to which real estate markets and finance capital did so in a new age of austerity and the stakes thereof for urban futures.