Summary of The New Urban Crisis

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With his 2014 book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida emerged as a provocative observer of modern cities. Here, Florida sheds his optimism about cities. He’s heartened by the resurgence of New York, San Francisco and other urban hubs. But he’s startled that these cities are playgrounds for the affluent that exclude the working classes. Florida focuses on the effect on cities of soaring housing values. He researched his topic with care, and writes artfully. However, some may wonder about the feasibility of his proposed solutions: raising the minimum wage, creating a basic income and replacing the mortgage interest deduction with a tax break for renters. getAbstract recommends his study to policy makers, real estate professionals and economic developers seeking insight into the renaissance of cities.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How cities regained economic power,
  • Why “superstar cities” come with significant downsides and
  • How cities could create more equality.  

About the Author

Richard Florida is director of cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and senior editor at The Atlantic. He also wrote The Rise of the Creative Class.



Urban Evolution

In the 1960s and 1970s, American cities fell into crisis. Crime became rampant, and racial tensions and civil unrest boiled over. In 1967, African-American populations rioted in a wide range of cities, including Newark, Atlanta, Detroit and Cincinnati. By 1975, New York City was on the verge of insolvency. As white flight took hold, middle-class residents and their employers abandoned cities to move to the suburbs. Cities, it seemed, had risen and fallen. Cultural centers like New York were still attractive to pioneering types such as artists, musicians and writers. But urban neighborhoods had turned nightmarishly dirty and unsafe; “the American Dream had moved to the suburbs.” Fast forward four decades, and cities – at least, a handful of “superstar cities” – are on an upward tear. New York, its flirtation with bankruptcy long forgotten, and London are the undisputed kings of global cities. Other hubs, such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore, Los Angeles and Seoul, are bustling cities in the second tier of superstars. In rare circumstances, a city still can decline. For instance, Detroit missed the global rebound of cities. For the most part, a successful city tends to get more so. San Francisco, for example, has a stranglehold on venture capital investment, pulling in $6.5 billion in 2012. That figure outpaced even the more suburban San Jose region to the south, which ranked second in VC funding. The list of the world’s 20 top cities for VC includes Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and London. The rise of these cities marks the victory of the “‘three Ts of economic development’: technology, talent and tolerance.” The most skilled, most ambitious workers tend to congregate in metro areas with plentiful opportunities. This “clustering” effect brings like-minded people together in a climate of acceptance across lines of race and sexual orientation.

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    Harald Tschuggnall 7 months ago
    San Francisco is just shocking - such a beautiful city but so many homeless people that I would be afraid to live there with my family - this would be life quality 0 for me!

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