Master of Arts (M.A.)
Degree Granting Department
M. Martin Bosman, Ph.D.
Ambe Njoh, Ph.D.
Stephen Buckman, Ph.D.
Capitalism, Class, Military Urbanism, Neoliberalism, New Jim Crow, Race
An unnoticed shift is underway in the revanchist model of accumulation by dispossession (Harvey, 2005) that is rebranding the neoliberal reorganization of space and economic growth. I call this shift “Urban Revanchism as Sustainability,” following Mike Davis and Daniel Monk (2007). In this study, I describe how Tampa elites, led by Democratic Mayor Bob Buckhorn, use politically popular discourses of ‘sustainability’, ‘walkability’, ‘bike-ability’, among others, to coopt the rhetoric and symbols of social and environmental justice as cover for urban capital accumulation. I describe how in the wake of 2008 which devastated Tampa, and in the context of the subsequent gentrification of downtown Tampa, this sustainable urban revitalization strategy is being used to legitimize accumulation by dispossession of the most sought-after land on the downtown waterfront. This ‘green’ mode of enforcing urban revanchism is a politically charged, class-based process that is based on the prior militarization of the city police and securitization of urban space, contradicting the principles of social and environmental sustainability (Agyeman, 2003). Based on ethnographic observations, interviews, newspaper reviews, and document analysis, I show how an environmental facade is being layered over exclusionary forms of racial displacement and class exploitation. As such, the rebranding of a system of militarized exclusion and displacement which amounts to a selective neo-liberal “right to the city” is being normalized across the downtown riverfront. The resulting new waterfront city valorizes individualized entertainment and consumption for elites and privileged business professionals, at the same that it discourages collective solidarity and care among the dwindling middle- and working classes, and enforces private competition among the poor and unemployed.
Scholar Commons Citation
Austin, Jared J., "Policing the Riverfront: Urban Revanchism as Sustainability" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.