The Urban Future
THE GREAT INVERSION AND THE FUTURE OF THE AMERICAN CITY.
By Alan Ehrenhalt.
Knopf. 276 pp. $26.95
Is gentrification the “fifth great migration,” that will fill old downtowns with upper-middle-class white folks, while the tract mansions of the outer ring become slums for immigrants? So suggests Alan Ehrenhalt, the former executive editor of Governing magazine. In The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City, he proposes that a demographic shift is under way that is reversing generations of suburbanization and white flight.
This book will gain Ehrenhalt nothing but friends, admirers, and speaking engagements among the New Urbanist set, just as Richard Florida, perhaps today’s best-known urban theorist, has made a good living with his work. Ehrenhalt believes that “the massive outward migration of the affluent that characterized the second half of the 20th century is coming to an end.” Soon, he predicts, scarcely anyone “will be buying large, detached single-family houses 30 miles from the city limits.” And, more specifically, “Chicago in 2030 will look more like the Paris of 1910 than like the Detroit of 1970.”
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Joel Garreau’s books include Edge City: Life on the New Frontier (1991) and Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human (2005). He is the Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture, and Values at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and a Future Tense Fellow at the New America Foundation.more from this author >>