This book discusses the revitalization of decayed inner-city neighborhoods. It explores the role of social capital in stabilizing and turning around distressed communities, and it highlights the roles that local actors can and do play in the revitalization process.
The Art of Revitalization takes two Chicago neighborhoods, Englewood and North Lawndale, as case studies. Zielenbach discusses them in the context of racial change and urban decay in Chicago since World War II. The account of the changing neighborhoods is fascinating and clear, and the strength of the author's portrayal of Chicago's transformation sets the stage for his detailed analysis.
"The richness of this book is both in its quantitative and qualitative analysis…Zielenbach makes a fascinating comparative analysis of two black neighborhoods…This takes up more than one-third of the book, and is worth reading by itself. Read this book." -- Making Waves, Autumn 2002
"Some of even the most dismal urban neighborhoods in the United States are in better shape now than they were a decade ago. But others are not. Until now, analysts have had little to say about why poor communities rebound or further deteriorate. In a fascinating and innovative book, Sean Zielenbach shows how and why communities thrive or decline, and what we can do to help revitalize urban neighborhoods. This book could make a real difference in many people's lives." -- Jennifer L. Hochschild, William Stewart Tod Professor of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
"The Art of Revitalization illustrates how the vitality of distressed inner-city neighborhoods must be understood and addressed in the context of larger economic and demographic forces." -- Nicolas P. Retsinas, Director, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University
"In this worthwhile book, Sean Zielenbach offers an important contribution to the ongoing debate over America's inner cities and how they can be revitalized. He presents a persuasive case for strengthening the neighborhood organizations and local enterprises which contribute so much to the fabric of these communities, and which ultimately hold the key to their future." -- Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)