Sustaining Cities: Urban Policies, Practices, and Perceptions

Sustaining Cities: Urban Policies, Practices, and Perceptions

Sustaining Cities: Urban Policies, Practices, and Perceptions

Sustaining Cities: Urban Policies, Practices, and Perceptions


What has happened to cities after the global economic recession? Sustaining Cities answers this question by explaining how failed governmental policies contributed to urban problems and offering best practices for solving them.

From social scientists and urban planners to architects and literary and film critics, the authors of this unique collection suggest real responses to this crisis. Could the drastic declines in housing markets have been avoided? Yes, if we reframe our housing values. Do you want to attract corporate investment to your town? You might want to think twice about doing so. The extinction of the "Celtic Tiger" may be charted in statistics, but the response in popular Irish mystery novels is much more compelling. China, while not immune to market vicissitudes, still booms, but at a considerable cost to its urban identities.

Whether constructing a sustainable social framework for Mexican mega-cities or a neighborhood in London, these nine essays consider some strikingly similar strategies. And perhaps, as the contributors suggest, it's time to look beyond the usual boundaries of urban, suburban, and exurban to forge new links among these communities that will benefit all citizens. Accessible to anyone with an interest in how cities cope today, Sustaining Cities presents a cautionary tale with a hopeful ending.


In one of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons, a distant mushroom cloud looms and cars jam the street as people flee the conflagration. Unfazed, a dog focuses on what’s in front of his nose. “And then Jake saw something that captured his attention.” From my experience with selectively attentive canines, this rings true. And it is also true for the many human Jakes for whom urban matters are at best peripheral. But this human inattention is changing. Now that cities are facing the combined disasters of failing infrastructure, devalued housing, and high unemployment, the question arises: how can cities survive? Sustaining Cities offers a collection of essays that focus our attention on current urban problems while suggesting how they can be solved. And the essays reveal how urban planners, architects, novelists, and filmmakers tap the unique and complex character of cities in these tumultuous times.

In 2003, the Global Cities volume in this series examined globalization’s effect on cinema, architecture and urbanism. Sustaining Cities likewise views cities through a multidisciplinary lens. The intervening years have provided a lengthened perspective with which to judge the impact of global phenomena. Here, the essays are grouped in sections covering urban policies, practices, and perceptions, respectively, yet the volume encourages readers to create new cross-disciplinary connections. Indeed, forging new . . .

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