Synopses & Reviews
Since its initial publication, Loft Living
has become the classic analysis of the emergence of artists as a force of gentrification and the related rise of “creative city” policies around the world. This 25th anniversary edition, with a new introduction, illustrates how loft living has spread around the world and that artists’ districts—trailing the success of SoHo in New York—have become a global tourist attraction. Sharon Zukin reveals the economic shifts and cultural transformations that brought widespread attention to artists as lifestyle models and agents of urban change, and explains their role in attracting investors and developers to the derelict loft districts where they made their home.
Prescient and dramatic, Loft Living shows how a declining downtown Manhattan became a popular “scene,” how loft apartments became hot commodities for the middle class, and how investors, corporations, and rich elites profited from deindustrializing the city’s factory districts and turning them into trendy venues for art galleries, artisanal restaurants, and bars. However, this edition points out that the artists who led the trend are now priced out of the loft market. Even in New York, where the loft living market was born, artists have no legal claim on loft districts, nor do they get any preferential treatment in the harsh real estate market.
From the story of SoHo in Lower Manhattan to SoWa in Boston and SoMa in San Francisco, Zukin explains how once-edgy districts are transformed into high-price neighborhoods, and how no city can restrain the juggernaut of rising property values.
"An outstanding example of the new interdisciplinary direction in the study of urban communities, combining political economy, sociology, and history. Loft Living is literate, evocative, [and] ambitious."
1. "An impressive book. Zukin entered the tangled world of zoning law, development politics, and real estate markets, analyzed documents and conducted interviews until she understood that world and was able to make us understand it, and emerged with a persuasive analysis of what may be the fundamental model for urban change."
"An important, substantive study in urban sociology and political economy...readable...style, free of academic cant."
"One of the most insightful analyses yet to be published on the recent processes of transformation of American cities...a most interesting exploration of the social roots of urban vitality as well as the new forms of spatial inequality."
"A formidable book."
"An engrossing, enlightening, and elegantly written book."
This book exposes the meeting of art and real estate markets, the happy meeting between artists' demand for housing and city officials and homeowners who wanted to 'upgrade' their neighborhoods by private market means--and how those artists were used and abandoned by real estate developers and investors who were banking on rising property values.
Since its initial publication, Loft Living has become the classic analysis of the emergence of artists as a force of gentrification and the related rise of “creative city” policies around the world. This 25th anniversary edition, with a new introduction, illustrates how loft living has spread around the world and that artists’ districts—trailing the success of SoHo in New York—have become a global tourist attraction.
About the Author
SHARON ZUKIN is professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center.
Table of Contents
Loft Living Grows Up: From Artists’ Studio to Global Brand
Foreword by David Harvey
Preface: Reader, Beware!
1 Living Lofts as Terrain and Market
2 Investment and Politics
3 The Creation of a “Loft Lifestyle”
4 Art in the Arms of Power
5 From Arts Production to Housing Market
6 Demand and Development in the Loft Market
7 Speculation and the State
8 Capital Shifts and the Cultural Avant-Garde in Urban America
Postscript to the Paperback Edition: More Market Forces