Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World
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And if a proposed high-tech bullet train linking the airport to Disney is realized, visitors will never see the actual city of Orlando.
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Disneyfication is a term that describes the attempt to make an urban environment like Disney — clean, safe, entertaining, and distracting. Orlando, Florida appears to be a city replicating Disney. This accelerated commercial city has emerged as islands of glittering structures in the midst of decaying public services and deteriorating living conditions for the poor.
Construction of first-class office complexes, luxury housing, and tourist attractions shortchanges affordable housing, small business, and community-based industries. Policy makers and developers insure the development of two cities — one for the haves and one for the have-nots. A downtown feature is Church Street Station, a turn of the twentieth century Orlando that never was.
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A renovated warehouse district, Church Street has become a gallery of shops, theme bars, and licensed street vendors and performers. For amusement visitors and downtown patrons can select from a Western saloon, an Irish pub, a riverboat restaurant or a dixieland ragtime emporium. Collapsing space and time, this is a social environment of surfaces that can be purchased. Cultural complexity is reduced to appearances similar to the equi-important images that move across television screens.
Interweaving different worlds of commodities packages marginal differences while concealing any traces of origin.
Landscapes of Power : From Detroit to Disney World
In the past several years, the park has been disneyfied. In the Disney Company offered the city a deal — to build a homeless shelter or a bandshell. In the process Lake Eola Park, long a resting place for transients, has been transformed into a disney environment, without people sleeping on the benches or begging for food.
Instead there are sculptures of squirrels and birds that sit atop iron planters and piped-in music. A recently completed multi-million dollar expansion project includes a bridge with international food court spanning a portion of the lake. Even homelessness has been disneyfied. The Magic play their home games in a facility that was built before the team existed and whose construction required the relocation of almost households and the displacement of principally African-American residents of an established neighborhood.
Sometimes dreams really do come true.
Landscapes of power : from Detroit to Disney World, Sharon Zukin, (electronic resource)
Consider the Sun Bank building, the tallest structure in downtown Orlando. Its design symbolizes the new power and self-confidence of the city. An integral part of the local power structure, the bank played a significant role in bringing military contractor Martin Marietta and the Disney Corporation to Central Florida.
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Built upon the site of a popular city park, Sun Bank agreed to maintain public space. The result was a people-unfriendly lawn occasionally used by a hired croquet team. City Hall is another new building downtown the old city hall was imploded in the film Lethal Weapon 3.
It stands as a statement of what our community is about. And what is this statement?
Business and spectacle. The city plans to recoup building costs by collecting monies through renting space at a planned office tower on city land near the site. Plans to install a putting green and a back porch at City Hall have been postponed, but the bronzed-domed roof was made to look like a soccer ball for the World Cup matches that came to town in Another feature of the City Hall plaza is its thousand dollar 60 foot glass and steel structure called the Tower of Light.
Disney also worked with the Florida government to create a special district within the state for his large tract of property in an attempt to solve legal issues associated with building a town from the ground up in the middle of a swamp, no less!
Disney stock, which had been very successful through the mids, slumped throughout the 70s, as the baby-boomer generation turned away from the fairy tales and utopian fantasies of their secure youth in favor of countercultural activity. In the view of the counterculture, Disney was soundly part of the Establishment.
Along with opening EPCOT Center and expanding into international markets, Disney also diversified its film offerings to include movies for adult audiences. Today, both positive and negative portrayals of Disney abound, but undergirding every discussion of Disney in scholarly and popular discourse is a single fact: Disney is a cultural icon. While Disney himself is long gone, many argue that his company still maintains a principled, emotionally invested attitude in its varied endeavors Lyon, Lyon, David. Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers,