Additional References

  1. Banfield, Edward. (1974). The Unheavenly City Revisited. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Banfield was a rationalist in his approach to urban planning. He saw city evolution as a function of changes in demography, technology, and economics—not in government planning and programs. His first edition in 1970 was written at a terrible time for U.S. cities. Middle-class families and companies were fleeing the violence and turmoil of American cities and moving to the suburbs.

The recent resurgence of some cities, but by no means all, is a result of changes once again in demography, technology, and economics. The decline of two-parent households, a new wired generation, and the expansion of multinational companies for new production centers and markets are far greater causes of urban revitalization than government planning and programs.

The poor moved to older suburbs where the middle class once lived or to many towns and cities that could not revitalize, but could sustain them on welfare. Banfield did not live to see the astonishing rise of the multinational companies and their market empowerment of cities, as well as their massive reduction of poverty in the developing world. Multinational companies have also stimulated a cultural work ethic in countries for which there was no earlier impulse, for want of economic opportunity. The developed world is slowly deleveraging its welfare supports for fiscal reasons. This may initiate enough economic growth to ...

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