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Confronting the New Urban Crisis

In this excerpt from his new book, Richard Florida explains how “winner-take-all urbanism” has deepened inequality, segregation, and poverty—and what cities can do about it.
relates to Confronting the New Urban Crisis
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Imagine that you could travel back in time to 1975, snatch a random New Yorker off the street, and set him loose in the city today.

The New York he knew was a place in steep economic decline. People, jobs, and industry were fleeing to the suburbs. Grimy, dangerous, and violent, New York teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. What would that same New Yorker make of the city today?

He wouldn’t have any trouble finding his way around. The Bronx would still be up, the Battery down, and Lady Liberty would continue to preside over the harbor. Most of the city’s great landmarks—the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, Rockefeller and Lincoln Centers—would look much as they did. The streets would still be clogged with traffic. He could take the same subways across Manhattan and out to the edges of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, the PATH train to New Jersey, and New Jersey Transit and Metro North into the outer suburbs.