This overview of Battery Park City, a New York City development located near Ground Zero, suggests the development has kept the poor away in the same way as suburbs:
Conceived originally by David Rockefeller, then vice-chair of Chase Manhattan, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the development was essentially built to house finance executives and other white-collar workers during a period in which those sorts of people were escaping the city for a growing number of suburbs. Literally, as well as metaphorically, Battery Park City crushed the docks that were the only vestige of working-class industry in lower Manhattan, constructed atop landfill that was tacked onto Manhattan with the specific purpose of advancing New York’s financial sector.
It was as physically isolated as it was demographically. Separated from the rest of the city, connected only by pedestrian bridges—unless one was willing to face West Street, more aptly described as the West Side Highway. There were guards at the edge of Battery Park City, and its parks closed to the public at night. In a similar fashion, much of the “public” space was established where it was either difficult or intimidating for non-residents or non-financial workers to get to…
Lower Manhattan is not what is was when Battery Park City was conceived and built. These days, much of the area around it is fancy, too.
“The people across the street are just as elite as they [Battery City residents],” told me.
There are no longer any guards because “you don’t need them anymore, because just as in the suburbs people don’t have fences around their yards, you don’t need those barricades because there’s nobody poor nearby. So instead of walls, you’re using distance.”
As the nearby area gentrified, Battery Park residents no longer had to fear who might enter their development as nearby residents were similar to them.
As a broader question, is a neighborhood like this more desirable for critics of suburbs even though it is still a wealthy enclave that is separated from lower-class neighborhoods? These city dwellers may have more contact with people unlike them on a day-to-day basis but ultimately, some of the issues that are said to plague suburbia such as homogeneity can also be found in urban neighborhoods. Is residential segregation in the city equal to, better than, or worse than residential segregation in the suburbs?