In the future, American cities could look like late-nineteenth-century Vienna, with lively, affluent metropolitan core areas and the lower classes consigned to life in peripheral suburbs. Such cities will go well beyond gentrification and involve the displacement of the poor in inner-city areas by the wealthy, according to urbanologist Ehrenhalt. He details how the trend toward such cities is already apparent in Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, Houston, and other metropolitan areas. Drawing on census data and economic research, he examines the factors behind the trend, including mass transit, retail and housing development in downtown locations, and the declining appeal of long commutes to distant suburbs. Ehrenhalt also offers detailed portraits of the future of suburban sprawl in areas struggling to re-create the appeal of cities by developing more accessible commercial zones. This is an engaging look at demographic changes that promise a very different future for cities and suburbs. --Vanessa Bush
“Ehrenhalt takes his reader on a tour of the changing American cityscape . . . An enjoyable and engaging read, especially for those considering a move back to the city . . . Solidly researched with great questions asked and plenty of hard facts and anecdotal answers provided.”
—Richard Horan, Christian Science Monitor
“The Great Inversion
and the United Nations agree; the world is becoming more urban by the day . . . To Ehrenhalt’s credit, he does not pass moral judgment on the process. With clear prose that is both informative and entertaining, he objectively states the facts (and presents a great number of voices from immigrant businessmen and local civil servants to politicians from Elite African-American families and developers), leaving his readers free to render their own verdict.”
—Joshua Bloodworth, Dominion of New York
“Most writers on cities are either cheerleaders or naysayers. Ehrenhalt is neither, and he has written a balanced, hard-hitting book that is a persuasive forecast of our complex urban future.”
—Witold Rybczynski, author of Makeshift Metropolis
“The future of the city is the future of America and the world. Alan Ehrenhalt shows us how a desire for urbanism is bringing people back to America’s downtowns, and what suburbs and communities of all sorts must do to thrive in the future. The Great Inversion
is a must read for anyone concerned with American cities, urbanism, and the future of the way we live.”
—Richard Florida, author of Who’s Your City?
"[The Great Inversion
] is a serious, provocative, and gracefully written, and consistently interesting look at how the urban-suburban balance is shifting"
—Better! Cities & Towns