Building Home

Author: Eric John Abrahamson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520953428
Format: PDF, Docs
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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, ePub, Mobi
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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.

Bowling Alone

Author: Robert D. Putnam
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0743203046
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Shows how changes in work, family structure, women's roles, and other factors have caused people to become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and democratic structures--and how they may reconnect.

A Dream Foreclosed

Author: Laura Gottesdiener
Publisher: Zuccotti Park Press
ISBN: 1884519210
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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
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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.

Financing the American Dream

Author: Lendol Calder
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400822836
Format: PDF
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Once there was a golden age of American thrift, when citizens lived sensibly within their means and worked hard to stay out of debt. The growing availability of credit in this century, however, has brought those days to an end--undermining traditional moral virtues such as prudence, diligence, and the delay of gratification while encouraging reckless consumerism. Or so we commonly believe. In this engaging and thought-provoking book, Lendol Calder shows that this conception of the past is in fact a myth. Calder presents the first book-length social and cultural history of the rise of consumer credit in America. He focuses on the years between 1890 and 1940, when the legal, institutional, and moral bases of today's consumer credit were established, and in an epilogue takes the story up to the present. He draws on a wide variety of sources--including personal diaries and letters, government and business records, newspapers, advertisements, movies, and the words of such figures as Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and P. T. Barnum--to show that debt has always been with us. He vigorously challenges the idea that consumer credit has eroded traditional values. Instead, he argues, monthly payments have imposed strict, externally reinforced disciplines on consumers, making the culture of consumption less a playground for hedonists than an extension of what Max Weber called the "iron cage" of disciplined rationality and hard work. Throughout, Calder keeps in clear view the human face of credit relations. He re-creates the Dickensian world of nineteenth-century pawnbrokers, takes us into the dingy backstairs offices of loan sharks, into small-town shops and New York department stores, and explains who resorted to which types of credit and why. He also traces the evolving moral status of consumer credit, showing how it changed from a widespread but morally dubious practice into an almost universal and generally accepted practice by World War II. Combining clear, rigorous arguments with a colorful, narrative style, Financing the American Dream will attract a wide range of academic and general readers and change how we understand one of the most important and overlooked aspects of American social and economic life.

Middlesex

Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307401944
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Spanning eight decades and chronicling the wild ride of a Greek-American family through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, Jeffrey Eugenides’ witty, exuberant novel on one level tells a traditional story about three generations of a fantastic, absurd, lovable immigrant family -- blessed and cursed with generous doses of tragedy and high comedy. But there’s a provocative twist. Cal, the narrator -- also Callie -- is a hermaphrodite. And the explanation for this takes us spooling back in time, through a breathtaking review of the twentieth century, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie’s grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set our narrator’s life in motion. Middlesex is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire. It’s a brilliant exploration of divided people, divided families, divided cities and nations -- the connected halves that make up ourselves and our world. Justly acclaimed when it was released in Fall 2002, it announces the arrival of a major writer for our times. From the Hardcover edition.

The New Grand Strategy

Author: Mark Mykleby
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1466883898
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The New Grand Strategy tells the story of a plan, born within the Pentagon, to recapture America’s greatness at home and abroad by elevating sustainability as our new strategic imperative. It aligns our enduring national interests of prosperity and security with a new framework that addresses pressing economic, social, and environmental issues at home, tapping into a trillion-dollar market demand for walkable communities, regenerative agriculture and resource productivity. It is an inspiring vision of what’s possible when Americans hold a collective view of the future and come together to bring it to reality. This is no idealistic pipe dream or wonky policy prescription. The story that unfolds in this book weaves together hard-nosed economic analysis, a clear-eyed study of demographic and societal shifts, the realities of climate change and resource scarcity, a risk-based assessment of America’s challenges and opportunities, and on-the-ground reporting of how much this is already unfolding throughout the country. By rediscovering the power and discipline of grand strategy—and taking responsibility for our future—America can reimagine the American dream and once again take on “the cause of all mankind.” Released during one of America’s most divisive presidential election campaigns, The New Grand Strategy avoids the partisan rhetoric dividing our nation today. Instead of placing blame, it offers a clear, pragmatic plan that can unite Americans and launch a new era of prosperity and security.