Living City: How America's Cities Are Being Revitalized by Thinking Small in a Big Way

Overview

THE LIVING CITY

"An intelligent analysis. Sensible, undoctrinaire, even good-humored. An appealing mixture of passion and clinical dispassion."
-Washington Post Book World

"The best antidote I've read to the doom-and-gloom prophecies concerning the future of urban America."
-Bill Moyers

"This is fresh and fascinating material; it is essential for understanding not only how to avoid repeating terrible mistakes of the past, but also how to recover from them."
-Jane Jacobs, author ...

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Overview

THE LIVING CITY

"An intelligent analysis. Sensible, undoctrinaire, even good-humored. An appealing mixture of passion and clinical dispassion."
-Washington Post Book World

"The best antidote I've read to the doom-and-gloom prophecies concerning the future of urban America."
-Bill Moyers

"This is fresh and fascinating material; it is essential for understanding not only how to avoid repeating terrible mistakes of the past, but also how to recover from them."
-Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities

From coast to coast across America there are countless urban success stories about rejuvenated neighborhoods and resurgent business districts. Roberta Brandes Gratz defines the phenomenon as "urban husbandry"-the care, management, and preservation of the built environment nurtured by genuine participatory planning efforts of government, urban planners, and average citizens.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gratz calls into question much urban development conducted today in the name of community renewal. ``The big money continues to pour . . . into the big, the overwhelming and the inappropriate,'' charges this former New York Post reporter. The rescue of vacant buildings in a 10-block area of the South Bronx, and the revitalization of Savannah, Ga., whose residents renovated the Victorian District without forcing out poor people, are examples of what Gratz calls ``urban husbandry''care and management of the built environmentposed here as an alternative to trickle-down policies. Gratz advises that ``thinking small in a big way works,'' and her useful, even inspiring book is filled with examples of successfully rebuilt cities and neighborhoods observed at first hand. Her case studies of defeated shopping-mall projects in Ithaca, N.Y., Burlington, Vt., and Pittsfield, Mass., dramatize the hidden costs of ``mega-change.'' This challenging report could become a bible for back-to-the-city and anti-gentrification movements. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Gratz, a former New York Post reporter, examines the successes and failures of urban renewal projects throughout the country. She criticizes the reluctance of the government to invest even modest sums in renovation projects undertaken by community-based groups and its preference for large-scaled projects proposed by developers. She backs up this criticism with examples: The South Bronx's community-sponsored revitalization of Kelly Street has been a success, while New York's Co-op City, a large developer project, has been a failure. The author advocates ``urban husbandry'' and ``planned shrinkage''--small-scale efforts to renovate and adapt existing facilities--as preferred methods of revitalizing cities. Highly recommended for urban libraries as well as those with urban studies collections.-- Donald H. Dederick, SUNY Health Science Ctr. at Brooklyn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471144250
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.39 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Roberta Brandes Gratz lives in New York City, where she has been involved in urban matters as a community activist, as executive director of a historic restoration project, and as a reporter for the New York Post. In addition, she lectures and writes on urban affairs.

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Table of Contents

THINKING SMALL IN A BIG WAY.
Process Is People.
Savannah's Victorian District.
Gentrification and Displacement.
Winning Skirmishes, Losing Wars.
Understanding the Lessons.
Urban Husbandry: The Economy of Wisdom.
Planned Shrinkage: The Economy of Waste.
Urban Dispersal.
THE CITY REDISCOVERED.
Big Steps, Modestly: The Stories of Ithaca and Corning.
Outside, Inside: Burlington and Pittsfield.
Avoiding Wrong Lessons: The Remnant Complex vs.
Small Improvement, Big Differences.
Culprits.
Streets Have Value.
Old Areas Flourish Anew.
THE TROJAN HORSE: BIG PLANS, BIG MISTAKES.
The Past Over and Over Again.
The Question Is Why: Concrete Bunker or Else.
Epilogue.
Notes.
Index.
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