zondag 4 september 2011


On april 1, Concord Village officially opened its doors to the public. Steps away from the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, the new apartment complex presented a striking contrast to Brownstone Brooklyn’s aging landscape. Most residents saw in the complex only the frightening specter of Manhattanization. But manhattanization as both a fact and symbol is crucial to the history of gentrification. Concord Village represented what Brownstone Brooklyn was not. The neo-romantic impulse that inspired new middle-class gentrifiers formed as a reaction to a imagined modern city of towers, highways, and public housing emerging after World War II. Concord Village and Brownstone Brooklyn were twin products of the same economic restructuring. Rather than threatening to destroy Brownstone Brooklyn’s authenticity, Manhattanization gave birth to it.

Concord Village - Manhattanizations' first but not last 'clash' with Brooklyn
Incoming residents of brownstones enclaves such as Brooklyn Heights and Cobble hill would describe a modern city that was “impersonal,” “abstract,” “alienating” or “inauthentic.” In contrast, they would describe Brownstone Brooklyn as “local”, “decentralized”, “grassroots” and “historical diverse”. If Brownstone Brooklyn offered a sense of place, Concord Village, the Civic Centre, and urban renewal superblocks represented a landscape of sameness, or simply a non-place.

present-day aerial view on Concord Village

source:  S. Osman, The invention of Brownstone Brooklyn, 2011, Harvard University press

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