03 March 2008

The Language of Developers, and How to Understand It

Gotham Developers sound so unfailingly positive and cheery when they talk about their plans. Whatever they're doing, it's for the good of the people, for the good of the City. There's no downside. Everyone will benefit. They've selflessly considered every constituency while devising their project before ever once thinking of themselves.

Having listened my a good share of Utopian bullshit over the past few years, I've learned how to decrypt the real estate man and pro-developer pol's special brand of Pollyanna-ish doublespeak. Here, for your guidance, is a brief primer:

Statement: "Our design is meant to respect the historical and architectural context of the neighborhood."
Translation: "This building is not as big and ugly as we'd like it to be."

Statement: "We support the approval process."
Translation: "We promised City Hall we'd go through the motions."

Statement: "Community support is very important to us."
Translation: "We'd much prefer it if you didn't complain about what we're doing."

Statement: "What makes this city so vibrant is its capacity to change."
Translation: "Let me do what I want to do."

Statement: "We are interested in the future of the neighborhood."
Translation: "You won't recognize the place when we're through with it."

Statement: "Not every building can be preserved."
Translation: "That old thing that's in the way of our development has to come down."

Statement: "We want to expand opportunities for the creation of housing."
Translation: "We want to build luxury condos."

Statement: "This neighborhood desperately needs affordable housing."
Translation: "We want to build luxury condos."

Statement: "New York is a city rich with history."
Translation: "Go visit the museum."

Statement: "We value feedback from the community."
Translation: "Shut up already! We'll change it!"


Anonymous said...

Brilliant. I'd love to see today's post printed and used as a handbill.

Anonymous said...

I am really enjoying the recent burst of satire and op ed on your site. AND the updates on the squirrel house, of course.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Thank you, Carol. Sometimes (not often) there's a lag in steady stream of heartbreaking closures, giving me a little time to free-associate.

Lisanne said...

That needs to be made into a poster and posted on the construction sites like the advertisers do.

I walked up the Bowery today for the first time in a while and almost started to cry.

Cold, cold cold. and of course ugly.

Anonymous said...

Great list! I just posted it on NoLandGrab.org with an additional one for Atlantic Yards opponents who have been hanging around for a few years.

Statement: When I was young I studied to be a priest.

Translation: I am a creep.

My2Sense said...

I love it.
Here is another one -
"The Community has taken us in with open arms"
If anyone says anything negative about this piece of shit we will break their arms.

yojimbot said...

I bought a co-op in a recent gotham development and I would have to say that as developers go, they are not the worst. Our building did have numerous construction issues, but Gotham did come in and fix some of them. The others we sued for, but I eventually sold my place and did quite well. The developers that I interfaced with on the Gotham side did at least attempt community relations, most other do not.

Richard Nickel, Jr. said...

Brilliant, and pretty much valid across the board...

I'm reminded of the bit of the old Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio show where Arthur Dent is lying in front of the bulldozer, poised to demolish his house in order to make way for a new road. The bulldozer operator yells down to him "look, there's no point lying down in the path of progress", to which Dent responds "I've gone off the idea of progress. It's overrated."

MDDW said...

Statement: "We don’t want to use eminent domain- except as a last resort."
Translation: "We are a big enough developer so that we some public officials in our pocket that have assured us eminent domain is available for us to take your land if you don’t cooperate but since it such an objectionable process they would like us to threaten you maybe just short of calling in Luca Brasi- Then, when you agree, we have a code of omerta so you will sign a gag order that says we never even threatened you. What’s that Luca? Right! Notice we said `WE’ don’t want to use eminent domain- Just so you know it is us, not the government that gets to use it.”