Thursday, May 18, 2006

Is Boston an Ephemeral City?

Just when you think you know how Boston's urbanism should work, along comes a convincing argument that the city might just benefit from its ephemerality. From Joel Kotkin's book The City: A Global History, this article from the Boston Globe describes the precarious position of urbanism.

The danger, to Kotkin, is not only that vibrant cities like San Francisco will turn ephemeral, but that distressed cities will try in vain to follow the same path. Kotkin calls current efforts to jump-start Detroit and Cleveland through such a culture-centered strategy a fool's errand. Their comeback, he says, hinges on the much tougher, back-to-basics challenge of delivering good city services, including schools that will make them viable places to raise children for those who have other choices. ''There aren't enough yuppies to save Detroit," he said in a recent interview. But are there enough to save Boston?

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