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Boom Towns

Author: Stephen J.K. Walters
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804792275
Size: 73.66 MB
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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
Size: 44.63 MB
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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
Size: 66.81 MB
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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
Size: 53.86 MB
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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
Size: 36.26 MB
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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.

Bowling Alone

Author: Robert D. Putnam
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0743203046
Size: 40.59 MB
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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.

Our Kids

Author: Robert D. Putnam
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1476769907
Size: 66.35 MB
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A New York Times bestseller and “a passionate, urgent” (The New Yorker) examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility. Central to the very idea of America is the principle that we are a nation of opportunity. But over the last quarter century we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. We Americans have always believed that those who have talent and try hard will succeed, but this central tenet of the American Dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. In Our Kids, Robert Putnam offers a personal and authoritative look at this new American crisis, beginning with the example of his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. The vast majority of those students went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have faced diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich, middle class, and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, brilliantly blended with the latest social-science research. “A truly masterful volume” (Financial Times), Our Kids provides a disturbing account of the American dream that is “thoughtful and persuasive” (The Economist). Our Kids offers a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence: “No one can finish this book and feel complacent about equal opportunity” (The New York Times Book Review).

A Dream Foreclosed

Author: Laura Gottesdiener
Publisher: Zuccotti Park Press
ISBN: 1884519210
Size: 24.23 MB
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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 End Of The Suburbs

Author: Leigh Gallagher
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1591846978
Size: 80.83 MB
Format: PDF
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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.