This book has been a unique and complex endeavor, linking the specialties and academic styles of six coauthors across several disciplines and interest areas. What united us on this task was the central goal of the book--to explain as completely as possible what has happened to Philadelphia and its metropolitan area in the past four decades. At once both historical and sociological, it focuses on the centrality of economic change and corresponding political, demographic, and social movements with the region.
Philadelphia is a city wracked by conflict and facing a difficult future. Its civic and political life often threatens to devolve into casting blame on one group or another for its current difficulties. If there is one message that resonates throughout this book, it is simply this--that the city and its surrounding communities are caught in the throes of a wrenching social and economic shift that must be confronted head on. Above all, this struggle must not be overwhelmed by internecine struggles between various constituencies, communities, or neighborhoods for a larger slice of a shrinking pie. The forces of economic change have transformed an industrial city into a postindustrial metropolis--and have, we would argue, increased the payoff for coordinated regional actions while simultaneously dividing one neighborhood from the other, one ethnic group from another, and one gender from the other.
This divided metropolis faces a tenuous future, yet we know that it will survive--the only question is in what form. If this book helps focus discussions of alternatives for the city and the region, we will be gratified. If we have increased our readers' understanding of the current social frameworks of their day-to-day situations, we will be similarly gratified. For this volume is both an academic treatise and a labor of love and concern for this city.
In any coauthored work some means of identifying the specific responsibilities of each of the authors is needed. Carolyn Adams and David Bartelt alternated responsibility for pushing the project from beginning to end. They jointly wrote the introductory chapter, with contributions from David Elesh. Adams also prepared Chapter 5, dealing with the political changes in Philadelphia, and was responsible for Chapters 6 and 7.
Bartelt was responsible for the housing chapter (Chapter 3) and was assisted by Ira Goldstein, who did much of the analysis dealing with gen-