Economic Apartheid

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“I really felt it was a blatant misuse of eminent domain [proposed Atlantic Yards development].  I was hoping that the best thing would be to tear down Atlantic Center and put the arena there.  . . . .there were 2 other better sites . . . including Atlantic Center, which is just a horrendous situation.  Up until a few years ago, everything that went in there went out of business.  It is basically subsidized by the state, they have a variety of state offices there…That’s how Ratner gets his income base.  It’s not…Have you been there?  It’s not a pleasant place to shop.  I think I’ve only been there once.  It really hurt Fulton St., the mall.  Which used to have a Macy’s, a Martins, etc. . . . Here, [proposed Atlantic Yards footprint] Ratner owned a couple of parcels but he didn’t own everything.  He needed eminent domain and the powers of the state…And I’m a great believer in eminent domain for a public purpose.  It’s a dangerous route to take; a public purpose is NOT what gets a greater economic benefit in a place, that replaces a low-income or manufacturing or low tax-generating facility site, with a higher use.  Or a low-income family with a middle-income family, then it becomes very difficult.  Because you’re making an economic judgment and using an economic measure to guide policy. . . That’s economic apartheid.  And that’s what we’re beginning to see.   Even though it isn’t around racial segregation of people, it’s around the economic segregation of uses.  It becomes very dangerous.” – A Student of Jane Jacobs

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