New Gilded Age in a Broken World? The Super-Rich, Urban Life, and City Politics
This wealth, and those who wielded it, brought power to craft city settings according to the needs of the rich. Political actors, seeking capital investment and sometimes personal enrichment, declared the rich a mark of the city’s success. Today, as the pandemic eases, we might ask what a social politics of inequality will look like in an apparently “new” urban context that, in reality, contains the same public “bads” that existed before. While a “capture” of the city by the rich will continue, it may be that systemic constraints and public anger propel the taming of wealth. Will an egalitarian enlightenment grow, as some have suggested, or will pro-market orientations prevent a commitment to tackle excessive wealth and increase social investment?
Rowland Atkinson is Research Chair in Inclusive Societies at the University of Sheffield. He is an urban sociologist whose work crosses the boundaries of urban and housing studies, sociology, geography, and criminology. The central focus of his research is on how social divisions find spatial expression in urban contexts.