Saving America’s Cities
I am surprised and pleased by both the amount and quality of feedback I have been receiving about the new interview with David McDonald, author of “Saving America’s Cities”. There is clearly passion on this subject.
I decided to supplement the interview with a blog post to allow readers an opportunity to channel that passion in sharing their perspective by leaving a comment.
The feedback inspired me to research the subject a little deeper. I was surprised by the diversity of thought I found on the root causes for the decline. Here are a few of the resources I reviewed you may also have an interest in.
Partnership for Sustainable Communities has a lot of great reference material ranging from community planning to green building to zoning.
“US Cities May Have to be Bulldozed in Order to Survive” presents a drastic solution to the challenge. The article calls for a 40% reduction in the size of cities as a way to create economic solvency and stimulate progress.
“Unions and The Decline of Cities” concludes capital flight and reduced demand for labor are cited by the author as a driver of urban decay. The data presented suggests cities with above-median unionization depopulated by an average of 7% while those with below-median unionization grew an average of 32% over the study period of 1973-75.
Drug Policy and The Decline of America’s Cities suggests a key root cause is Government’s failure to deal with the destructive illegal drug supply industry that tends to have a concentrated base of operation in the core of America’s cities.
America’s Cities Go Bust! gives an international perspective. It is interesting to read about our challenge from the perspective of a Russian news agency.
This is clearly just the tip of the iceberg. Is it drugs? Is it Unions? Is it lack of funds? Is it all of the above, or something completely different? My take-away conclusion is the challenge is multifaceted, complex and difficult to deal with on many levels. There is a large and expanding body of work focused on the subject. But, from what I have read so far, it doesn’t appear we are any closer to a simple national solution.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
David’s interview started a great dialogue. Let’s keep it going. What are your thoughts on the root causes of the economic problems faced by America’s cities? What are you seeing that appears to working that should be cause for optimism? If you could select only one thing to address that would contribute to saving America’s cities what would it be? What references have you found most helpful in understanding the scope of the challenge?
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