MW: I’m trying to think of where to begin. For a layman, I like to think I’m somewhat informed on urban dynamics. I’ve read my Mike Davis, I understand his “magical realism” hypothesis, there’s Walter Benjamin’s idea of cities as a “place for carnival,” with diversity, and “meetings with the other” being so vital; I understand Neil Smith’s Marxist criticism of the market city. What I don’t understand, I think, is the Creative Class idea of city building.
RF: Well, first, those people are my heroes. Neil Smith was on my dissertation committee I have a strong grounding in neo-Marxism. I was shaped by all those debates.
When I did my Ph.D., my thesis was on the political economy of financial deregulation and housing. And it was very influenced then by the neo-Marxist debates - David Harvey, Neil Smith.
And I left MIT because they wouldn’t let me do the neo-Marxist work I wanted to do; that’s why I ended up at Columbia.
A lot of my theory comes with my attempt to grapple with these much bigger issues about class, society, and economy.
If you are curious about why I'm making note of the above, please comment. For now, I'll say that I think understanding the genealogy of ideas (hat tip Michel Foucault) is important.