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The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City

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In The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City we travel the nation with Alan Ehrenhalt, one of our leading urbanists, as he explains how America’s cities are changing, what makes them succeed or fail, and what this means for our future.
Just a couple of decades ago, we took it for granted that inner cities were the preserve of immigrants and the poor, and that suburbs were the chosen destination of those who could afford them. Today, a demographic inversion is taking place: Central cities increasingly are where the affluent want to live, while suburbs are becoming home to poorer people and those who come to America from other parts of the world. Highly educated members of the emerging millennial generation are showing a decided preference for urban life and are being joined in many places by a new class of affluent retirees.
Ehrenhalt shows us how the commercial canyons of lower Manhattan are becoming residential neighborhoods, and how mass transit has revitalized inner-city communities in Chicago and Brooklyn. He explains why car-dominated cities like Phoenix and Charlotte have sought to build twenty-first-century downtowns from scratch, while sprawling postwar suburbs are seeking to attract young people with their own form of urbanized experience.
The Great Inversion is an eye-opening and thoroughly engaging look at our urban society and its future.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 23, 2012 – The conventional model of the post-war American metropolis—a desolate inner city, home to impoverished minorities and immigrants, surrounded by affluent white suburbs—is turning itself inside out, according to this intriguing survey of the new urban geography. Ehrenhalt (The Lost City) examines a panorama of inner-city districts where well-heeled residents are flocking back in search of nightlife, short commutes, and dense, vibrant communities, including: Chicago’s once gang-ridden, now swanky Sheffield neighborhood; Houston’s Third Ward, in the throes of racially-charged battles over gentrification; and even sprawling, car-bound Phoenix, where a new light rail system may prove a magnet for downtown development. He contrasts these upscaling city precincts with suburbs like Ohio’s Cleveland Heights, uneasily split between leafy subdivisions and dilapidated tenements, and Georgia’s Gwinnett County, a formerly lily-white Atlanta ex-urb that’s now majority-minority thanks to a tide of Hispanic and Asian immigrant strivers. Ehrenhalt’s old-school urbanism, reminiscent of the work of Jane Jacobs, integrates fine-grained readings of street life with shrewd analyses of demographics, crime patterns, transportation systems, housing policy, and zoning and tax regulations to reveal the changing dynamics of metropolitan areas. The result is a lucid, provocative, and rather hopeful forecast for America’s cities—one that illuminates their enduring appeal. Photos.
The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Public Administration
  • Published: Apr 24, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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