Boom Towns

Author: Stephen J.K. Walters
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804792275
Format: PDF, Mobi
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American cities, once economic and social launch pads for their residents, are all too often plagued by poverty and decay. One need only to look at the ruins of Detroit to see how far some once-great cities have fallen, or at Boston and San Francisco for evidence that such decline is reversible. In Boom Towns, Stephen J.K. Walters diagnoses the root causes of urban decline in order to prescribe remedies that will enable cities to thrive once again. Arguing that commonplace explanations for urban decay misunderstand the nature our towns, Walters reconceives of cities as dense accumulations of capital in all of its forms—places that attract people by making their labor more productive and their leisure more pleasurable. Policymakers, therefore, must properly define and enforce property rights in order to prevent the flight of capital and the resulting demise of urban centers. Using vivid evocations of iconic towns and the people who crucially affected their destinies, Walters shows how public policy measures which aim to revitalize often do more harm than good. He then outlines a more promising set of policies to remedy the capital shortage that continues to afflict many cities and needlessly limit their residents' opportunities. With its fresh interpretation of one of the American quandaries of our day, Boom Towns offers a novel contribution to the debate about American cities and a program for their restoration.

Building Home

Author: Eric John Abrahamson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520953428
Format: PDF, ePub
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Building Home is an innovative biography that weaves together three engrossing stories. It is one part corporate and industrial history, using the evolution of mortgage finance as a way to understand larger dynamics in the nation‘s political economy. It is another part urban history, since the extraordinary success of the savings and loan business in Los Angeles reflects much of the cultural and economic history of Southern California. Finally, it is a personal story, a biography of one of the nation‘s most successful entrepreneurs of the managed economy —Howard Fieldstad Ahmanson. Eric John Abrahamson deftly connects these three strands as he chronicles Ahmanson’s rise against the background of the postwar housing boom and the growth of L.A. during the same period. As a sun-tanned yachtsman and a cigar-smoking financier, the Omaha-born Ahmanson was both unique and representative of many of the business leaders of his era. He did not control a vast infrastructure like a railroad or an electrical utility. Nor did he build his wealth by pulling the financial levers that made possible these great corporate endeavors. Instead, he made a fortune by enabling the middle-class American dream. With his great wealth, he contributed substantially to the expansion of the cultural institutions in L.A. As we struggle to understand the current mortgage-led financial crisis, Ahmanson’s life offers powerful insights into an era when the widespread hope of homeownership was just beginning to take shape.

Smaller Cities in a World of Competitiveness

Author: Peter Karl Kresl
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317539761
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Much recent research in Urban Studies has concentrated on the notion of the ‘global city’ but discussion has also covered a larger set of mega cities, with populations in excess of 10 million. This analysis has begged the question of the optimal size for a city – is larger always better? Smaller Cities explores the advantages and disadvantages of different sized cities, trying to determine their place in the global economy and hierarchy. How can smaller cities gain or retain their competitiveness in a world of large cities? In a globalized world, the nation has perhaps been diminished as an economic actor, with fiscal shortcomings and political gridlock leaving cities more or less on their own in the task of enhancing their competitiveness and improving the economic lives of their residents. This book argues that smaller cities of varying population can be important actors in competitiveness and aims to bring attention to an area often overlooked by researchers. In short, are Pittsburgh, San Diego and Austin less competitive than London and Mumbai? This volume will be of interest to students, researchers, and city professionals who work in urban economy and urban geography.

The Human City

Author: Joel Kotkin
Publisher: Agate Publishing
ISBN: 157284776X
Format: PDF, ePub
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"The Human City presents the most cogent, evidence-based and clear-headed exposition of the pro-suburban argument. . . . enriching our understanding of what cities are about and what they can and must become.” —Wall Street Journal Around the globe, most new urban development has adhered to similar tenets: tall structures, small units, and high density. In The Human City, Joel Kotkin—called “America’s uber-geographer” by David Brooks of the New York Times—questions these nearly ubiquitous practices, suggesting that they do not consider the needs and desires of the vast majority of people. Built environments, Kotkin argues, must reflect the preferences of most people—especially those of families—even if that means lower-density development. The Human City ponders the purpose of the city and investigates the factors that drive most urban development today. Armed with his own astute research, a deep-seated knowledge of urban history, and a sound grasp of economic, political, and social trends, Kotkin pokes holes in what he calls the “retro-urbanist” ideology and offers a refreshing case for dispersion centered on human values. This book is not anti-urban, but it does advocate a greater range of options for people to live the way they want at all stages of their lives.

Inside Job

Author: Mark A. Zupan
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108116523
Format: PDF, Kindle
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National decline is typically blamed on special interests from the demand side of politics corrupting a country's institutions. The usual demand-side suspects include crony capitalists, consumer activists, economic elites, and labor unions. Less attention is given to government insiders on the supply side of politics - rulers, elected officials, bureaucrats, and public employees. In autocracies and democracies, government insiders have the motive, means, and opportunity to co-opt political power for their benefit and at the expense of national well-being. Many storied empires have succumbed to such inside jobs. Today, they imperil countries as different as China and the United States. Democracy - government by the people - does not ensure government for the people. Understanding how government insiders use their power to subvert the public interest - and how these negative consequences can be mitigated - is the topic of this book by Mark A. Zupan.

The End of the Suburbs

Author: Leigh Gallagher
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1591846978
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A Fortune journalist examines why suburbs are transforming and losing their appeal in society-improving ways, citing such factors as shrinking birth and marriage rates, environment-driven preferences for smaller homes and a renaissance in urbanized housing that promotes healthier lifestyles.

A Dream Foreclosed

Author: Laura Gottesdiener
Publisher: Zuccotti Park Press
ISBN: 1884519210
Format: PDF, Docs
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"Real-life stories of how banks are ravaging the country--particularly African American communities--and how some families have joined together to fight back. The ongoing economic crisis has created one of the longest and largest mass displacements in U.S. history. While profiting from government bailouts, banks have evicted more than ten million Americans from their homes, destroying their life savings, their economic security and their dreams. Told through the eyes of four families, A Dream Foreclosed reveals the ongoing human tragedy of the crisis--and the spectacular possibilities that emerge when everyday people challenge the all-powerful corporations that the U.S. government considers 'too big to indict.'"--Cover p. [4].

The American Dream and the Public Schools

Author: Jennifer L. Hochschild
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199839689
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The American Dream and the Public Schools examines issues that have excited and divided Americans for years, including desegregation, school funding, testing, vouchers, bilingual education, and ability grouping. While these are all separate problems, much of the contention over them comes down to the same thing--an apparent conflict between policies designed to promote each student's ability to succeed and those designed to insure the good of all students or the nation as a whole. The authors show how policies to promote individual success too often benefit only those already privileged by race or class, and often conflict with policies that are intended to benefit everyone. They propose a framework that builds on our nation's rapidly changing population in order to help Americans get past acrimonious debates about schooling. Their goal is to make public education work better so that all children can succeed.

The Great Reset

Author: Richard Florida
Publisher: Random House Canada
ISBN: 0307358313
Format: PDF
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We tend to view prolonged economic downturns, such as the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Long Depression of the late nineteenth century, in terms of the crisis and pain they cause. But history teaches us that these great crises also represent opportunities to remake our economy and society and to generate whole new eras of economic growth and prosperity. In terms of innovation, invention, and energetic risk taking, these periods of "creative destruction" have been some of the most fertile in history, and the changes they put into motion can set the stage for full-scale recovery. In The Great Reset, bestselling author and economic development expert Richard Florida provides an engaging and sweeping examination of these previous economic epochs, or "resets." He distills the deep forces that have altered physical and social landscapes and eventually reshaped economies and societies. Looking toward the future, Florida identifies the patterns that will drive the next Great Reset and transform virtually every aspect of our lives — from how and where we live, to how we work, to how we invest in individuals and infrastructure, to how we shape our cities and regions. Florida shows how these forces, when combined, will spur a fresh era of growth and prosperity, define a new geography of progress, and create surprising opportunities for all of us. Among these forces will be * new patterns of consumption, and new attitudes toward ownership that are less centered on houses and cars * the transformation of millions of service jobs into middle class careers that engage workers as a source of innovation * new forms of infrastructure that speed the movement of people, goods, and ideas * a radically altered and much denser economic landscape organized around "megaregions" that will drive the development of new industries, new jobs, and a whole new way of life We've weathered tough times before. They are a necessary part of economic cycles, giving us a chance to clearly see what's working and what's not. Societies can be reborn in such crises, emerging fresh, strong, and refocused. Now is our opportunity to anticipate what that brighter future will look like and to take the steps that will get us there faster. With his trademark blend of wit, irreverence, and rigorous research and analysis, Florida presents an optimistic and counterintuitive vision of our future, calling into question long-held beliefs about the nature of economic progress and forcing us to reassess our very way of life. He argues convincingly that it's time to turn our efforts — as individuals, as governments, and as a society — to putting the necessary pieces in place for a vibrant, prosperous future. From the Hardcover edition.