Future of the City

Archive Report

Contradictions of New Skylines and Old Blight

For at least two decades, experts have been saying that the core of the American urban complex, the inner city, is sick and may be dying. They may be right, for there is evidence almost everywhere—in city crime, poverty, congestion, pollution, racial polarity, and declining services to support that view. And yet, the urban situation is filled with contradictions that make prophecy hazardous.

Gleaming new buildings are changing the downtown skyline of American cities where signs of business vitality were so notably lacking only a few years ago. The Wall Street Journal reported on July 16 that “downtown hotels are being built at a faster clip than at any time since the Depression.” Glittering shopping malls are no longer ...

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