Cities in mind
Fester picks up on my latest discussion of Pittsburgh's Downtown bus routes, and Sam hosts a healthy debate on the merits of planned redevelopment over at AntiRust.
Meanwhile, at the Trib, Ralph Reiland cites a couple of sources to expose the myth of the Philadelphia miracle:
In terms of "image," there was new glitz in downtown Philly -- i.e., "futuristic office towers and classy new hotels and restaurants," plus a reinvigorated Center City with more arts attractions and an expanded selection of upscale watering holes.
But the "reality" of the city after Ed Rendell's eight years as mayor, reported Siegel and Hymowitz, wasn't as stylish or flourishing as the trendy new French bistros: "Philadelphia remains a crime- and tax-ridden city of collapsing schools and continued middle-class flight, still suffering from economic decline. Much of the last decade's new urban thinking that has put the bloom back on cities from coast to coast has yet to reach the City of Brotherly Love."
Rendell proved to be "an old-style big-city mayor who has fought welfare reform, despite its successes in so many other cities, and he has looked to Washington subsidies to solve local problems instead of fixing his own faltering economy," concluded Siegel and Hymowitz. "Philadelphia has lost almost 150,000 people since 1990 --- more than any other city."
...In addition, the total number of jobs in Philadelphia, despite the many millions of tax dollars spent in public-subsidy deals to expand employment, was smaller after Rendell's eight years as mayor than when he took office in 1992.
Cities are nothing unless people want--and can afford--to live and work in them. All the convention centers and Cheesecake Factories in the world won't change that.