320 pages | 5 Color Illus.
[FOR HISTORY CATALOGS]Drawing on the pronouncements of public commentators, this book portrays the 20th century history of U.S. cities, focusing specifically on how commentators crafted a discourse of urban decline and prosperity peculiar to the post-World War II era. The efforts of these commentators spoke to the foundational ambivalence Americans have toward their cities and, in turn, shaped the choices Americans made as they created and negotiated the country's changing urban landscape. [FOR GEOG/URBAN CATALOGS]Freely crossing disciplinary boundaries, this book uses the words of those who witnessed the cities' distress to portray the postwar discourse on urban decline in the United States. Up-dated and substantially re-written in stronger historical terms, this new edition explores how public debates about the fate of cities drew from and contributed to the choices made by households, investors, and governments as they created and negotiated America's changing urban landscape.
"Beauregard recovers an intellectual history of the city that has been overlooked by historians and planners. Yet one cannot understand the postwar exhaustion of urban policy without knowing this history of American public discourse about cities. With care and authority, he shows how traditional American unease with cities was transformed after World War II into a powerful narrative of decline that made the hollowing-out of urban life seem 'natural,' inevitable. Anyone interested in the past and future of American cities must read this book." -- Thomas Bender, New York University, and author of The Unfinished City and New York Intellect
"Voices of Decline digs under layers of conventional urban wisdom to reveal the roots and consequences of how we think about city life. Masterfully recreating and analyzing the often melodramatic public conversation about cities over the last half century, Robert Beauregard makes the whole range of urban discourse come alive with meaning and a rich historical resonance. In this admirably revised edition, he has not only updated an invaluable work on the American city, he has made it even more incisive, powerful, and useful." -- Carlo Rotella, Boston College, and author of Good With Their Hands: Boxers, Bluesmen, and Other Characters From the Rust Belt