From the author of The Creative Class. A book about how our cities are increasing inequality, deepening segregation, and failing the middle class, as well as a diagnosis of our economic ills and a prescription for more inclusive cities capable of ensuring growth and prosperity for all.
...vividly exposes how gentrification, followed by rising housing costs, concentrated affluence and glaring inequality, has pushed the displaced into deteriorating suburbs far from mass transit, employment, services and decent schools ... The New Urban Crisis is nuanced and proposes solutions, including more clustering in suburbs to spark innovation, the creation of 'refugee cities' for the displaced and international development policies that prioritize strategic investments in urban schools and neighborhoods. However, some may view Florida’s fresh round of prescriptions with skepticism, given his prominent role in promoting many of the policies that created the very crisis cities now face.
Florida’s latest brings some new data into a competent synthesis of contemporary thinking on cities and inequality. As you might expect from a book that aims to diagnose and solve the problems of global urbanization in a little more than 200 pages (with 100 more of appendices and endnotes), its content falls short of its ambition. Florida devotes just 18 pages to the megacities of the developing world ... heavy on studies from sociologists and economists, but addresses history only in short anecdotes, and politics hardly at all. This blindness to the perversity of American politics (which Florida otherwise follows closely) weighs heavily on the book ... a disjointed finish to a book that otherwise stresses that rental affordability, segregation, infrastructure, and inequality are in fact national problems. Despite it all, Florida remains cheerful. But he has elucidated the very bleak paradox of American urban policy.
Florida focuses on what the creative class’s emergence, and the decline of the middle class, have done to cities. Florida uses the category ‘creative class’ to distinguish the one-third of the American work force who employ their brains rather than their bodies … ‘Creative class’ is not an accurate term, but it is sexy … Florida states blithely that ‘Uber and Airbnb hope to actually make some aspects of cities work more efficiently.’ Sure, and BP hopes to end climate change … Several of Florida’s solutions are sound — although they, too, would benefit from a closer look at individual cities. He suggests more mass transit, including bringing rail to suburbs that have reached the limits of moving people efficiently by car. He suggests more rental housing construction, a good idea for New York, but not so much for shrunken cities that have too much housing.