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LEVER WEEKLY: Disney, The Real Estate Developer

Jun 19, 2022 Julia Rock
Is Disney really enthusiastic about solving Florida’s housing crisis, or is it a profit-scheme “masquerading as a utopia”?
LEVER WEEKLY: Disney, The Real Estate Developer
(AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

When the Walt Disney Company built a development in Celebration, Florida, in the 1990s, it was advertised as “a place that takes you back to that time of innocence.” But if that vision was ever even possible, it would ultimately completely unravel.

“Celebration was supposed to be a corrective to one of the prevailing anxieties on the eve of the new millennium: that people were more alienated, less connected, less happy,” wrote Gaby Del Valle in a new piece for The Drift that we highlight below. “But Celebration was, at its core, a conventional real estate development masquerading as a utopia. And the minute Disney realized it could get a better return on its investment by selling Celebration for parts, it did.”

In addition to a recap of The Lever’s reporting this week, this edition of Lever Weekly features reporting on the widespread use of unpaid labor in prisons, and on the reasons that President Joe Biden should nationalize the oil industry, instead of issuing gentle guidance.

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