Monday, May 1, 2017

Land-grab in Moscow

Source: CityLab / AP

El Pais recently published an article by their excellent Moscow correspondent, Pilar Bonet, on the plans of Mayor Sergey Sobyanin to demolish 8,000 housing blocks from the Khrushchev era and replace them with new buildings, re-housing some 1.6 million people.

Coverage of this story in the English-language press has not mentioned the fears that current residents have of being shortchanged – that they will lose the green spaces and good services they currently enjoy and end up in high-rise "anthills" on the periphery lacking basic services. Critics warn that the plans are being hastily pushed through with little control, and are open to abuses. Neighbors are currently organizing to protect their rights in this massive operation. 

As in China, a political-economic-military oligarchy feeds off the population, Matrix-style, using them at will to increase its fortune and power. A demented new Feudalism.

In London too, public housing estates are being robbed from poor residents by local councils and profiteers.

Are we headed in the same direction in the US (Trump, healthcare)? Or are we already there? When will the pressure of rising land values in New York tempt the local government to sell off and demolish its wealth of public housing?

A women watches as excavator and workers demolish a five storey Khrushchyovka building in Moscow
Demolition of a Khrushchev-era housing block last October. Source; BBC / EPA

Pilar Bonet 
El Pais, April 28, 2017 

Mark Byrnes  
CityLab, The Atlantic, March 8, 2017 

BBC News, February 22, 2017

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