Alan Ehrenhalt
Knopf, New York, 2012, English
Nonfiction, Urban Design
6.6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches, hardcover, 288 pages
ISBN: 9780307272744
Suggested Retail Price: $26.95

From the Publisher. In The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City we travel the nation with Alan Ehrenhalt, one of our leading urbanists, as he explains how America’s cities are changing, what makes them succeed or fail, and what this means for our future.
Just a couple of decades ago, we took it for granted that inner cities were the preserve of immigrants and the poor, and that suburbs were the chosen destination of those who could afford them. Today, a demographic inversion is taking place: Central cities increasingly are where the affluent want to live, while suburbs are becoming home to poorer people and those who come to America from other parts of the world. Highly educated members of the emerging millennial generation are showing a decided preference for urban life and are being joined in many places by a new class of affluent retirees.

Ehrenhalt shows us how the commercial canyons of lower Manhattan are becoming residential neighborhoods, and how mass transit has revitalized inner-city communities in Chicago and Brooklyn. He explains why car-dominated cities like Phoenix and Charlotte have sought to build 21st-century downtowns from scratch, while sprawling postwar suburbs are seeking to attract young people with their own form of urbanized experience.

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Witold Rybczynski

Most recent books of cities tend to be breathless accounts by civic boosters. Ehrenhalt avoids facile generalizations—People are Returning to the City!—and instead takes a close look at how specific American cities are changing, both demographially and physically. He focuses on eight metropolitan areas, finding complex patterns that vary from place to place: gentrification, suburban densification, downtown invention, and resistance to change, as well as stagnation.

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