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The Shape of the New American City

The Shape of the New American City

Edited by:

December 2009 | 244 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

What does the future hold for America's cities and metropolitan areas? This special volume of The ANNALS analyzes demographic trends, housing preferences, crime patterns, economic indicators, and infrastructure investments to examine emerging patterns in the nation's cities. Drawing on research by leading scholars, the volume points toward a growing metropolitan centrality and a slowing-down of the sprawling suburban growth of the last half century. In particular, contributors agree that cities with dense, walkable downtowns that agglomerate economic activity are poised for resurgence. Among the new—and surprising—findings:

  • Susan M. Wachter and Richard Voith point to the remarkable turnaround of many of the thirty largest cities in 1970, which went from hemorrhaging to gaining population.
  • Eugénie L. Birch shows how downtowns have experienced an uptick in residential activity that strengthens their economic and cultural viability.
  • Ingrid Gould Ellen and Katherine O'Regan cite the dramatic decrease in urban crime over the last decade as a factor in luring the middle class back into urban areas—while making cities safer as well for disadvantaged and minority populations.
  • Robert P. Inman and Andrew F. Haughwout provide evidence that suburban land values are increased by subsidies to their central cities and that the metropolitan area as a whole benefits from policies that increase the viability of the city at their core.
  • Douglas Massey finds that while black-white segregation in metropolitan areas is loosening, there is increasing segregation on the basis of class.
  • Robert Cervero shows that public transit can increase land values and improve neighborhood quality, as cities embark on new policies such as replacing elevated freeways with greenways and boutiques.
  • Looking forward, Arthur C. Nelson predicts that the period from 2010 to 2030 will see a monumental demographic shift, with tremendous growth in the number of people over age 65 and a decline in the number of households with children. This shift, coupled with new housing preferences for residential units with transit accessibility and proximity to stores and restaurants, will lead to a "new urbanity." Nelson concludes that suburbs will have to change exclusionary zoning laws, property tax structures, and other policies in order to accommodate new housing demand.
  • Dowell Myers and John Pitkin focus specifically on the effects of the impending retirement of the baby boom generation, arguing that the eventual housing sell-off among the boomers will create a substantial imbalance of supply relative to demand.

This volume is a must-have for policymakers, scholars, and students to gain a deeper understanding of the current shape of the "New American City" and its overall effects on American culture and economics.

Eugenie L. Birch and Susan M. Wachter
Introduction: The Shape of the New American City
Kenneth T. Jackson
A Nation of Cities: The Federal Government and the Shape of the American Metropolis
Ingrid Gould Ellen and Katherine O’Regan
Crime and U.S. Cities: Recent Patterns and Implications
Andrew F. Haughwout and Robert P. Inman
How Should Suburbs Help Their Central Cities? Growth and Welfare Enhancing Intra-metropolitan Fiscal Distributions
Saskia Sassen
Cities Today: A New Frontier for Major Developments
Douglas S. Massey, Jonathan Rothwell, and Thurston Domina
The Changing Bases of Segregation in the United States
Dowell Myers and John Pitkin
Demographic Forces and Turning Points in the American City, 1950 to 2040
Richard Voith and Susan M. Wachter
Urban Growth and Housing Affordability: The Conflict
Eugenie L. Birch
Downtown in the ‘New American City’
John Landis
The Changing Shape of Metropolitan America
Arthur C. Nelson
The New Urbanity: The Rise of a New America
Robert Cervero
Transport Infrastructure and Global Competitiveness: Balancing Mobility and Livability
Rae Zimmerman
Making Infrastructure Competitive in an Urban World

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ISBN: 9781412981934