New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston. These cities get a lot of ink and attention from urban scholars, journalists, and critics. Each offers vivid examples of American urban planning and design, the merits of which are constantly debated and picked apart. Struggling big cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo also transfix us with the scale of their problems and the possible foretelling of nationwide decline.
Journalist and historian Catherine Tumber thinks smaller industrial cities, like Syracuse, New York, Flint, Michigan, and Muncie, Indiana, need serious attention and—"don’t laugh," she writes—could be instrumental in moving us toward an economically dynamic, low-carbon future.