Peter Marcuse

Individual – New York, United States

Peter Marcuse is a lawyer and planner who has written extensively on social housing, housing policies, the history and ethics of planning, the legal and social aspects of property rights and privatisation, as well as on questions of globalisation and space.

His writing is concerned with the defensiveness in the professions of architecture and town planning, the separation between architecture as design and planning as only dealing with the use of space and the built environment. At the same time, Marcuse highlights the growing resistance to the commodification of architecture and planning and the means by which this can be accomplished. One of the examples he refers to in terms of a different form of working and a different type of organisation is the Planners Network, of which he was an early member. Lately, Marcuse has collaborated with the Right to the City alliance, putting critical urban theory to work for grass-roots organisations, and working around his own central thesis that in order to imagine an alternative city, those who are 'deprived', the poor, the homeless and the exploited should be supported by those who are 'discontended' with society, artists, intellectuals etc. Here the role of theory is to build mutual understandings between the two groups.

Other Work

Peter Marcuse, 'Gentrification, abandonment and displacement: connections, causes and policy responses in New York City', Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law, 28 (1985), 195-240.

---, Missing Marx: A Personal and Political Journal of a Year in East Germany, 1989-1990 (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1991).

---, Disease: In Search of Remedy (Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press, 1996).

---, 'What Has to Be Done? The Potentials and Failures of Planning: History, Theory, and Actuality. Lessons from New York', AnArchitektur, 2005, 36-40.

Peter Marcuse and Ronald van Kempen, Globalizing Cities: A New Spatial Order? (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2000).

---, Of States and Cities: The Partitioning of Urban Space (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

'Right to the City: Take Back the City!', http://www.righttothecity.org/home.html [accessed 1 February 2010].

References About

Leonardo Benevolo, The Origins of Modern Town Planning (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967).

Kanishka Goonewardena, 'Urban studies, Critical Theory, Radical Politics: Eight theses for Peter Marcuse', City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 13 (2009), 208-218.

Peer Smets and Ton Salman, 'Countering Urban Segregation: Theoretical and Policy Innovations from around the Globe', Urban Studies, 45 (2008), 1307-1332.

Quotes

'Abandonment drives some higher-income households out of the city, while it drives others to gentrifying areas close to downtown. Abandonment drives some lower-income households to adjacent areas, where pressures on housing and rents are increased. Gentrification attracts higher-income households from other areas in the city, reducing demand elsewhere, and increasing tendencies to abandonment. In addition, gentrification displaces lower-income people-increasing pressures on housing and rents. Both abandonment and gentrification are linked directly to changes in the economic polarization of the population. A vicious circle is created in which the poor are continuously under pressure of displacement and the wealthy continuously seek to wall themselves within gentrified neighbourhoods. Far from a cure for abandonment, gentrification worsens the process.'
- Peter Marcuse, 'Gentrification, abandonment and displacement: connections, causes and policy responses in New York City', Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law, 28 (1985), 196.

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