Making Cities Work

Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America

Edited by Robert P. Inman
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 378
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7pf3n
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  • Book Info
    Making Cities Work
    Book Description:

    Making Cities Workbrings together leading writers and scholars on urban America to offer critical perspectives on how to sustain prosperous, livable cities in today's fast-evolving economy. Successful cities provide jobs, quality schools, safe and clean neighborhoods, effective transportation, and welcoming spaces for all residents. But cities must be managed well if they are to remain attractive places to work, relax, and raise a family; otherwise residents, firms, and workers will leave and the social and economic advantages of city living will be lost.

    Drawing on cutting-edge research in the social sciences, the contributors explore optimal ways to manage the modern city and propose solutions to today's most pressing urban problems. Topics include the urban economy, transportation, housing and open space, immigration, race, the impacts of poverty on children, education, crime, and financing and managing services. The contributors show how to make cities work for diverse urban constituencies, and why we still need cities despite the many challenges they pose.Making Cities Workbrings the latest findings in urban economics to policymakers, researchers, and students, as well as anyone interested in urban affairs.

    In addition to the editor, the contributors are David Card, Philip J. Cook, Janet Currie, Edward L. Glaeser, Joseph Gyourko, Richard J. Murnane, Witold Rybczynski, Kenneth A. Small, and Jacob L. Vigdor.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3315-3
    Subjects: Business, Architecture and Architectural History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Robert P. Inman

    This book,Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America, and a companion conference held at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, on May 4, 2007, honor the memory of Dr. Kathyrn Engebretson, past president of the William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia. Kathy was a graduate of Luther College (1977), received her MBA in finance from the Wharton School (1983), and then went on to earn her PhD from Wharton in applied economics and public policy (1996). She began her professional career in public finance in Denver, but soon returned to Philadelphia as vice president of Lehman Brothers, one of...

  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Robert P. Inman
  6. Contributors
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. 1 Introduction: CITY PROSPECTS, CITY POLICIES
    (pp. 1-21)
    ROBERT P. INMAN

    Why cities? In this era of high-speed communication, videoconferencing, rapid transit, and high-definition radio and television, could we all not work and play at home? And could not home be anywhere, where the air is clean, the streets are safe, and the schools, including home schools, are excellent? What cities have always offered—proximity and easy access—may simply not be necessary today, thus giving us the freedom to locate wherever the environment, whether the metropolis or the mountains, is most conducive to our needs and tastes. In fact, however, cities are on the upsurge. In the United States, the...

  8. 2 Growth: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF CITIES
    (pp. 22-62)
    EDWARD L. GLAESER

    America’s cities are remarkably dynamic. Some cities, both today and in the past, expand dramatically in a short period of time. Chicago’s population expanded by 270 percent in the 1850s, and Las Vegas grew by 85 percent in the 1990s. Urban decline is slower, but population losses can also be striking. Saint Louis lost 12 percent of its population in the 1990s, and 59 percent of its population between 1950 and 2000. In this chapter, I will discuss the major factors that cause urban growth and decline, both historically and today.

    First, in “The Demand for and Supply of City...

  9. 3 TRANSPORTATION: URBAN TRANSPORTATION POLICY
    (pp. 63-93)
    KENNETH A. SMALL

    Cities exist and thrive because they enable people to access each other. Thus they depend on a good transportation system, as confirmed by the strong impacts of transportation infrastructure on both economic growth (Gramlich 1994) and urban structure (Giuliano 2004). Furthermore, there is little doubt that at least in a city of any size, a healthy economy requires a transportation system that includes both private and public modes, since neither alone can possibly accommodate the enormous variety of trips that such an economy generates. Each mode involves important policy decisions about the extent of capital investment, the level of service...

  10. 4 Space: THE DESIGN OF THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
    (pp. 94-122)
    WITOLD RYBCZYNSKI

    The United States is a large society with a steadily growing and highly mobile population—a demographic condition that has had a dramatic effect on the fortunes of its cities. For example, in 1900, the five largest cities were New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, and Boston. A hundred years later, only New York and Chicago remain on the list. Los Angeles, which barely figured in the top twenty-five in 1900, is now in second place; Houston is number four, and Phoenix, which in 1900 had barely five thousand inhabitants, has just edged out Philadelphia for fifth place; meanwhile, Boston...

  11. 5 Housing: URBAN HOUSING MARKETS
    (pp. 123-157)
    JOSEPH GYOURKO

    Forty years ago when policymakers and scholars thought about urban housing, they invariably focused their attention on the large fraction of substandard housing units in America’s cities, and the inevitable implication of this for the nation’s poorer households, many but by no means all of whom were members of a minority group.¹ Fourteen percent of whites and 46 percent of nonwhites occupying housing units in urban areas in 1960 were living in substandard housing, where substandard implied the housing was unsafe or inadequate in some fundamental way. When measured along income rather than racial lines, 36 percent of those in...

  12. 6 Immigration: HOW IMMIGRATION AFFECTS U.S. CITES
    (pp. 158-200)
    DAVID CARD

    The United States is once again becoming a country of immigrants.Immigrant arrivals—currently running about 1.25 million people per year—account for 40 percent of the population growth nationally, and a much larger share in some regions (see U.S. Department of Commerce 2006). The effects of these inflows are controversial, in part because of their sheer size and in part because of their composition. Something like 35 to 40 percent of new arrivals are undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America with low education and limited English skills (Passel 2005). Although another quarter of immigrants—from countries like India and...

  13. 7 Race: THE PERPLEXING PERSISTENCE OF RACE
    (pp. 201-225)
    JACOB L. VIGDOR

    Forty years ago, the problems of African Americans in cities were at the forefront of public consciousness. In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., emboldened by success in forwarding the civil rights agenda in the U.S. South, took up residence on the west side of Chicago, one of two monolithic ghetto neighborhoods in that city. Chicago, along with other large industrial cities across the country, had witnessed a half century’s worth of unprecedented migration, as blacks abandoned the rural South in search of higher living standards. Escaping the legal segregation of the South, black families encountered a different form of...

  14. 8 Poverty: POVERTY AMONG INNER-CITY CHILDREN
    (pp. 226-268)
    JANET CURRIE

    The concentration of poverty in decaying inner-city neighborhoods has proven to be among the most intractable of social problems. In fact, poverty has increasingly become an urban problem: in 1979, rural poverty exceeded urban poverty, but by 1999, the situation had been reversed. In 2003, 17.5 percent of central-city urban residents were poor compared to 9.1 percent in other urban areas, and 14.2 percent outside metro areas (Weinberg 2005).

    The negative effects of poverty on children can be especially pernicious, blighting lives before they really start. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Greg Duncan (1997) document that children who grow up in poverty...

  15. 9 Education: EDUCATING URBAN CHILDREN
    (pp. 269-296)
    RICHARD J. MURNANE

    Urban schools in the United States are like mirrors, reflecting both the accomplishments and failures of our society.¹ The accomplishments are evident in graduation ceremonies at urban high schools throughout the country, when students bound for college thank their teachers for the opportunities their parents did not have. The failures are evident in the high dropout rates and low average test scores of students attending urban public schools.

    Neither the accomplishments nor the failures of students in urban public schools are recent phenomena. Throughout the last century, America’s urban public schools have provided the staircase to a better life for...

  16. 10 Crime: CRIME IN THE CITY
    (pp. 297-327)
    PHILIP J. COOK

    The great epidemic of youth violence that swept the nation’s cities beginning in the mid-1980s finally crested in 1993, and has largely subsided since then.¹ In many cities, rates of crime and violence are now at levels not seen since the Kennedy era. The remarkable turnaround has contributed to the current golden age in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere.

    The epidemic has generated some important lessons. The first is that safe streets are a necessary platform for neighborhood growth and prosperity. Thus the notion that poverty is the mother of crime has been turned on its head. Second, a city’s...

  17. 11 Finances: FINANCING CITY SERVICES
    (pp. 328-362)
    ROBERT P. INMAN

    From the first records of economic history it has been true that successful, growing cities are those cities that provide quality public services, initially public infrastructure and civil justice, at a fair price. Between 1000 and 1800, cities governed by exploitative rulers languished and died. Those governed by the collective consent of the landowners, guild masters, burghers, and lords of the surrounding feudal estates thrived. Northern Italian cities grew from 1200 to 1500 when governed as independent republics, and stagnated under Habsburg domination after 1550. Similarly, Belgian cities lost population from 1550 onward with the introduction of Spanish absolutism under...

  18. Author Index
    (pp. 363-382)