Paint the Town Red

FALL 2014 | ISSUE 15/16

Comrades and small property owners.

You came to Bobigny fleeing the high rents of Paris and seeking to emancipate yourselves from the rapacity of the bourgeois who exploit you in all possible ways.

Unfortunately, in our city you have found only high taxes, absurdly poor means of communication, rutted streets, insufficient lighting, mounds of garbage, and no drinking water.... On the other hand, you have a city administration that is very costly and incapable of making any social progress.

The schools have neither daycare centers nor lunch rooms, and your children have to wade through the mud in the winter in order to come home for lunch.

In cities dominated by socialist elements, they make the effort to create means of social education, such as youth clubs, scientific conferences, and so forth.

For these reasons we invite you to join us and examine with us those municipal issues that are of greatest interest to you.

—Socialists of Bobigny, 1910


Alyssa Battistoni
& Karen Narefsky


Peter Judson


The People’s Playground


De Blasio’s Doomed Housing Plan

Samuel Stein

By embracing inclusionary zoning, Mayor de Blasio gets to put forth a big, bold plan for reducing inequalities without fundamentally challenging capitalists.

Tricknology 101

Maya Dukmasova

The destruction of public housing in Atlanta and Chicago exposes capitalism’s violent logic.

Les Simerables

Ava Kofman

SimCity isn’t a sandbox. Its rules reflect the common sense of today’s urban planning.

Friendly FIRE

Chris Maisano

Social impact bonds offer private interests yet another opportunity to enrich themselves at public expense.

The Jock Doctrine

Carolyn Prouse

Rio has used mega-events like the World Cup and the Olympics as a “state of exception” to push through private development projects and economic liberalization.

The Book of Paul

Sam Wetherell

From British Hong Kong to Paul Romer’s charter cities, neoliberals have a solution for us all.

The Creativity Bubble

Erin Schell interviews Richard Florida

Richard Florida chats about Karl Kautsky, Karl Marx, and other urban creative types.


B-52 Bomber Radicalism

Mike Davis

A plan for rational improvements to the city of Los Angeles.

The Propaganda of Construction

Jannon Stein

The workers of Red Vienna struggled to secure their basic needs — through militant organizing and political power.

Imagining the Socialist City

Owen Hatherley

We will not go into the socialist city blindly, but with lessons from a century of experiments.

Nature’s Metropolis

Alyssa Battistoni

Experiments in design promise a better future for everyone, but only if they come with emancipatory politics to boot.

Fanfare without the Fans

Sean Dinces

The luxury suites in modern stadiums are reminders that capitalist society values elite consumption over public enjoyment.


The Urbanization of the Chinese Working Class

Eli Friedman

China’s ambitious new urbanization plan comes with a set of contradictions the Communist Party won’t be able to control.

If You Can Make It Here

Joshua Freeman

The resolution of New York City’s fiscal crisis became a template for neoliberals around the world.

Caring in the City

Johanna Brenner

Ending the exploitation of urban care workers requires radically democratic alternatives that go beyond the rhetoric of “work-life balance.”

Seize the Hamptons

Daniel Aldana Cohen

We should all get the chance to escape the city and enjoy leisure — without the hefty ecological footprint.

The Suburbanization of the US Working Class

Karen Narefsky

Much of the working class is being forced out into suburbia. We must adapt our organizing strategies to keep up.

Safe Space for Capital

Eric Peterson

How did a brand of gay-friendly values become synonymous with those most prized by capitalist urban redevelopment?

“If you want to be happy
In the name of God,
Hang your landlord.”

—a verse from
“Le Père Duchesne”