Contemporary American society, with its emphasis on mobility and economic progress, all too often loses sight of the importance of a sense of “place” and community. Appreciating place is essential for building the strong local communities that cultivate civic engagement, public leadership, and many of the other goods that contribute to a flourishing human life.
Do we, in losing our places, lose the crucial basis for healthy and resilient individual identity, and for the cultivation of public virtues? For one can’t be a citizen without being a citizen of some place in particular; one isn’t a citizen of a motel. And if these dangers are real and present ones, are there ways that intelligent public policy can begin to address them constructively, by means of reasonable and democratic innovations that are likely to attract wide public support?
Why Place Matters takes these concerns seriously, and its contributors seek to discover how, given the American people as they are, and American economic and social life as it now existsand not as those things can be imagined to be in some utopian schemewe can find means of fostering a richer and more sustaining way of life. The book is an anthology of essays exploring the contemporary problems of place and placelessness in American society.
The book includes contributions from distinguished scholars and writers such as poet Dana Gioia (former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts), geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, urbanist Witold Rybczynski, architect Philip Bess, essayists Christine Rosen and Ari Schulman, philosopher Roger Scruton, transportation planner Gary Toth, and historians Russell Jacoby and Joseph Amato.
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About the Author
Wilfred M. McClay is the SunTrust Chair of Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Ted V. McAllister is the Edward L. Gaylord Chair and Associate Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Place Matters Wilfred M. McClay 1
GPS and the End of the Road Ari N. Schulman 10
Place-Conscious Transportation Policy Gary Toth 48
"I Can't Believe You're from L.A.!" Dana Gioia 59
Cosmopolitanism and Place Russell Jacoby 70
Making Places: The Cosmopolitan Temptation Mark T. Mitchell 84
Place / Space, Ethnicity / Cosmos: How to Be More Fully Human Yi-Fu Tuan 102
The Demand Side of Urbanism Witold Rybczynski 120
Metaphysical Realism, Modernity, and Traditional Cultures of Building Philip Bess 130
A Plea for Beauty: A Manifesto for a New Urbanism Roger Scruton 149
Place and Poverty William A. Schambra 162
The Rise of Localist Politics Brian Brown 171
The New Meaning of Mobility Christine Rosen 180
Making American Places: Civic Engagement Rightly Understood Ted V. McAllister 188
Place as Pragmatic Policy Pete Peterson 201
Local History: A Way to Place and Home Joseph A. Amato 215
The Space Was Ours Before We Were the Place's Wilfred M. McClay 238
About the Contributors 263
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