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The Urban World, 9 th Ed. J. John Palen. Chapter 11: Cities and Change Introduction The Urban Crisis: Thesis Urban Revival: Antithesis A Political Economy.

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Presentation on theme: "The Urban World, 9 th Ed. J. John Palen. Chapter 11: Cities and Change Introduction The Urban Crisis: Thesis Urban Revival: Antithesis A Political Economy."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Urban World, 9 th Ed. J. John Palen

2 Chapter 11: Cities and Change Introduction The Urban Crisis: Thesis Urban Revival: Antithesis A Political Economy Look at the Urban Crisis 21 st -Century City Developments Gentrification Decline of Middle-Income Neighborhoods Successful Working Class Revival Summary

3 Introduction There is confusion and dispute about the future of the city It is a cliché that we live in an age of urban crisis Certainly there is no lack of prophets to passionately catalog urban ills

4 The Urban Crisis: Thesis The last decades of the 20 th century heard voices raised everywhere proclaiming the inevitable decline, if not death, of the city Are these pessimistic predictions accurate? – Loss of manufacturing jobs – Growing need for services while revenues decreased – Aging city properties and municipalities

5 Urban Revival: Antithesis The last two decades have witnessed a rebirth of hope An urban renaissance has taken place The recession and housing bust kept people from moving to the suburbs In 2010, many cities posted their highest growth rates in a decade

6 A Political Economy Look at the Urban Crisis Political economy academics hold that city problems do not occur in a vacuum, and city problems cannot be examined separately from the political, historical, and, particularly, economic systems of which they are a part The quest for ever-greater profits by large monopolistic corporations is seen s leading to government policies Gentrification is seen as a conscious product of land-based interest groups able to control the real estate market

7 21 st -Century City Developments New Patterns – The economic and social health of cities shows a mixed pattern – During the 21 st century, it seems clear, not all cities are going to experience similar situations – The urban renaissance is uneven, but clearly more prevalent than a decade ago

8 Central Business Districts – The Central Business District (CBD) is the economic heart of the city – Generally have been reasonably successful in retaining business and government offices – Downtown buildings use space effectively – Cities are actively promoting downtown convention centers as an economic growth strategy – Downtown stores will never again have the unchallenged control of retail trade they exhibited during the centralizing era of the streetcar and subway

9 Mismatch Hypothesis – Central-city offices provide new jobs—but only for those possessing specific white-collar skills – City factories and manufacturing plants continue to move to the suburbs—or, more frequently, abroad – The so-called “mismatch hypothesis” is that cities have blue-collar job seekers and white-collar job opportunities Downtown Housing – In the last decade downtown population in major U.S. cities increased about 10 percent – The most successful North American city in bringing residents downtown is Vancouver – There is a need for balance of people and business

10 Fiscal Health – Today municipalities are largely left to sink or swim on their own – Without federal help cities have substantially abandoned their earlier programs to fight poverty and solve social problems – Of every dollar of taxes, 65 cents go to the federal government, 20 cents go to the states, and only the remaining 14 cents go to the local governments Crumbling Infrastructure – The most severe problem is often antiquated water and sewage systems – 80,000 acres of lad are polluted with toxic chemicals and deserted

11 Neighborhood Revival – There is now a clear movement, especially by young professionals, toward residence in the central city – The gentrification movement is taking place in older neighborhoods that are recycling from a period of decay – The last decade has seen the rapid expansion of gentrification with cities such as Boston, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco

12 Gentrification Government and Revitalization – In the postwar years the federal government sponsored urban clearance and renewal – By contrast, until recently urban gentrification has been funded almost entirely by the private sector – Today, municipal governments overwhelmingly support gentrification, largely because it brings more affluent taxpayers Who is Gentrifying? – Gentrifiers are perhaps better described as “urban stayers” than as “urban in-movers” – Generally young or middle-aged adults, childless, white, urban-bred, well-educated, etc.

13 Why is Gentrification Taking Place? – Demographic Changes Decline in marriage, later age at marriage, increases in unmarried couples, and declines in the umber of young children per family All factors represent a decline of the sort of “familism” that played such an important part in the postwar flight to the suburbs – Economic Changes Commuting and utilities are expensive Revitalizing existing city housing can be less expensive than new construction on the suburban periphery

14 – Lifestyle Choices Urban living is “in” A serious liability of many central-city neighborhoods—the low quality of city schools—does not weigh as heavily on urbanites without children Older restored houses are now considered more desirable Displacement of the Poor – Those displaced are most often low-income renters, and low-income renters as a group have high residential mobility – Elderly property owners do face higher property assessments, but higher assessments mean that their property is sharply appreciating in value

15 Decline of Middle-Income Neighborhoods The number of middle-income neighborhoods is shrinking U.S. middle-income neighborhoods made up six out of ten of all metro neighborhoods in 1970, they made up only four out of ten in 2000 Rising income inequality has led to rising income segregation Neighborhoods are becoming more and more economically homogenous

16 Successful Working-Class Revival Is it possible for cities to provide decent housing for low-income working-class residents? – Working with community groups and local nonprofit housing corporations, the city of New York, for example, has worked a quiet revolution, building just during the early 1990s some 50,000 new residences in what had been the most devastated areas of the city


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