Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement announces final fall “Rethinking the City” lecture— Filip Stabrowski, December 9

September 30, 2013

The Bloustein School’s Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement‘s fall 2013 lecture series, Rethinking the City, which seeks to promote how people and communities can shape the life and future of our cities in the face of today’s challenges and opportunities, will host its final event of the semester on Monday, December  9 with Filip Stabrowski, Hunter College. The lunchtime lecture will begin at 12:45 p.m. and will be held in Room 113 of the Bloustein School’s Civic Square Building, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, N.J.


The 2005 rezoning of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront was not only one of the largest rezonings in New York City history, it was also widely promoted as an historic opportunity for voluntary inclusionary zoning, a city program that allows private developers to increase the density of their market rate projects in exchange for the production or financing of affordable housing. Over eight years after the rezoning, however, far fewer affordable housing units have been generated in Greenpoint and Williamsburg than initially anticipated, and voluntary inclusionary zoning has come under attack from affordable housing advocates across the city. This presentation, Inclusionary Zoning and Exclusionary Development: The (Post)-Politics of Affordable Housing in Greenpoint-Williamsburg, critically examines the inclusionary zoning program in Greenpoint-Williamsburg as not just practically ineffective, but politically disabling. The speaker argues that inclusionary zoning is an example of what Eric Swyngedouw calls “governance-beyond-the-state” – a regime consisting of state, capital, and civil society actors that has collectively de-politicized housing commodification and residential displacement by reducing these issues to a set of narrow, technocratic questions surrounding “affordable housing.” Central to this ensemble and fully implicated in this technology of governance have been local nonprofits representing “the community.” A recent resurgence of the “housing question”, however, suggests a mounting crisis of the hegemony of the affordable housing regime and points towards a re-politicization of housing in New York City.

Filip Stabrowski is a Visiting Research Associate and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College, CUNY. From 2012-2013 he was LSE Fellow in Urban and Development Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley in 2012. He previously worked as a tenant organizer in Greenpoint-Williamsburg for four years, following the 2005 waterfront rezoning. His “New-Build Gentrification and the Everyday Displacement of Polish Immigrant Tenants in Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” is forthcoming in Antipode.


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