Changing realities: The new racialized redevelopment rhetoric in Chicago

David Wilson, Carolina Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mania of "go-global" redevelopment is in full bloom in American cities. Under the banner of pursuing global competitiveness, redevelopment governances continue to push the creation of gentrification and downtown upscaling. This study examines Chicago's current redevelopment governance, which faces formidable obstacles (city and regional economic decline; the deepening of anger in poor black communities as poverty intensifies) to achieving its goals. We chronicle the rise of the latest, subtle new phase of redevelopment governance that may prove extremely important. This movement today is shown to modify its rhetoric to overcome a sense of new barriers to "go-global" restructuring amidst extremely uncertain economic times. This evolving governance now uses a distinctive "rhetorical fix" to keep neoliberal, go-global redevelopment on course. A racialized language, chronicled here, is a crucial resource in this redevelopment effort, and becomes important to helping resolve accompanying dilemmas. Chicago's governance, it is argued, has not yet entered a crisis, but is now in a preventative stage whose revisionist rhetoric reflects an acute reading of present and potential obstacles to successful restructuring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-999
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


  • Chicago
  • neoliberal governance
  • racialized discourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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