Meet Nigeria’s Private City: Same Story, Extreme Location

Eko Atlantic is where you can begin to see a possible future – a vision of privatized green enclaves for the ultra rich ringed by slums lacking water or electricity, in which a surplus population scramble for depleting resources and shelter to fend off the coming floods and storms. Protected by guards, guns, and an insurmountable gully – real estate prices – the rich will shield themselves from the rising tides of poverty and a sea that is literally rising. A world in which the rich and powerful exploit the global ecological crisis to widen and entrench already extreme inequalities and seal themselves off from its impacts – this is climate apartheid. (Guardian)

 

Eco Atlantic is one of the mushrooming private cities all around the world. The pattern shows us an extreme version of rising inequalities. While the rest of the society struggles with the lack of urban services, this private island provides upper – middle classes all the services privately and exclusively. As it is argued in this Guardian article, this is a form of apartheid.

Unless accessing the key urban infrastructure is considered as a human right, we will see these extreme versions of ultra-exclusive spaces.

Wait.. What!? Steampunk-themed Condo!

Well,  I must admit, I love steampunk!

The first thing to say is that this is not steampunk, but a farce Victorian themed selling campaign.

The project is No.15 Renwick, which is located in New York city near Hudson Squareç. The location is defined as the last underdeveloped corner of Manhattan by Observer.

hudson square 01 Hudson Square Rising: Last Corner of Undeveloped Manhattan Starts Rezoning Process Monday

Image Credit: Observer

The project is self-avowed as steampunk to attract rich hipsters to this ’boutique’ condo development.

A new luxury development called 15 Renwick in New York is giving built form to steampunk. That’s right, steampunk: that dark, Victoriana-obsessed cousin of Renaissance festivals and Star Trek conventions is now a theme for condos. I’m sorry to report that it gets worse: Steampunk is the entire pitch for the building. (cityLab)

The condo’s campaign uses the theme to attract residents and buyers by also using the ‘characters’:

Image IGI-USA

I have to say that I am quite curious about the responses to such campaign as well. Especially to steampunk boxer!?

Do these characters make you want to live in such an apartment building? Do you want to be like one of these characters? Does the imaginary life they are presenting attractive?

The sales of the units have even been launched by a costume party. It is a striking example showing how far using theming can go in promoting urban spaces. The campaign packages a themed life for the residents with every detail. Let’s check cityLab’s analysis of one of the visuals the project uses:

Let’s take stock of what this rich hipster’s boutique life entails:

—Tome with quill and ink, for writing one’s paper Tumblr
—Vast cape draped over the chair
—There is definitely an airship out the window
—Not just a carafe of cognac, but an artfully spilled goblet
—That hair tho
—Marble bust on an Isamu Noguchi coffee table
—Are those shields? (cityLab)

Seriously, are those shields?

No further questions..

Segregation 2.0: We live side by side, but…

New York condo which seperates the entrances for the ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ residents has sparked a discussion of contemporary patterns of spatial segregation in the cities we live in.

Luxury Apartment Building Will Have Separate Door For Poor Residents

A luxury condo building on New York City’s Upper West Side has gotten clearance from the city to have a separate entrance, or a “poor door,” for low-income tenants, according to the New York Post.

Extell, which is building the 33-story complex, will build a specific door for the 55 affordable housing units it’s including in order to be allowed to build a bigger building. The low-income units, which are available to people making 60 percent of median income or less, will also be in a segment that only contains affordable apartments and that faces the street while the luxury apartments will face the river.

Details can be found in New York Post article (City OKs UWS development with ‘poor door’ for residents) and Business Insider articles (New York City Approves Controversial ‘Poor Door’ In Luxury Condo An NYC High Rise Is Putting In Separate Entrances For Rich And Poor Renters)

The New York condo is not the only example for poor doors. Such practice can be found in London condos, as well. See Poor doors: the segregation of London’s inner-city flat dwellers

Multimillion pound housing developments in London are segregating less well-off tenants from wealthy homebuyers by forcing them to use separate entrances.

One Commercial Street development

(Image Credit: Sarah Lee)

The image shows the One Commercial Street apartment’s ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ entrances. No need to mention which one is for whom.

This practice is a part of building affordable housing units in central areas of the cities where the land rents are at the highest points. In that sense, Owen Hatherley’s commentary in Guardian shows the contradictions of relying on private developers for affordable housing: ‘Poor doors’ show why we can’t rely on developers for affordable housing

Reformism in local government has a Faustian history, often involving shady deals, compromised principles and unexpected outcomes as much as successful attempts to establish social justice in cities.

On the other hand, this vertical segregation is not always part of affordability problematic. For example, Metropol Istanbul Project in Istanbul builds segregated enterances for VIPs and other residents. In the case of this project, it is not aimed to have any ‘affordable units’ (although affordability of the units in previous examples can also be questioned).This project is under-contruction now, and it is designed to have ‘VIP’ entrance for the residents who live on the upper floors than 30. This is going to be a segregation between the residents who will use common entrance together with home office users of the tower and the VIPs who will have their own special entrance.

(Image Credit: guncelprojebilgileri.com)

In that sense, we have segregation within the already-segregated-spaces, and so on.

The question can be posed here as why we are so willing to live in such ‘segregated’ or ‘special’ places;

and what was Maggie saying again, “economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul“.