Synopses & Reviews
Gratz takes us on tours of places that are doing better and actually getting somewhere, because, against all odds, they have abandoned conventional wisdom's unworkable and oversimplified formulas and re-embraced new opportunities as complex and rewarding as life itself. It's roll-up-our-sleeves time in America, folks, and now we have no more excuses. Roberta Gratz has assembled the examples worth learning from, and her book is an excellent teacher." — Tony Hiss author of The Experience of Place
"Roberta Gratz is wonderful at discovering important things that are going on that most of us have not heard of yet." — Jane Jacobs author of Death and Life of Great American Cities
"I read the newspaper differently every day since I read this book." —Anthony Mancini author, professor of journalism at Brooklyn College, and former reporter for the New York Post
After decades of decline and decay, scores of downtowns in urban America are coming to life once again. Others continue to languish despite massive public investment. In Cities Back from the Edge, acclaimed author Roberta Brandes Gratz teams up with Main Street expert Norman Mintz to tell us why. Based on their firsthand observations of downtown change throughout the country, this book is filled with stories of urban recovery from Mansfield, Ohio to Los Angeles, from Pasco, Washington to SoHo. Rejecting simplistic cookie-cutter prescriptions for success, Gratz and Mintz instead identify a more flexible and effective approach to downtown rejuvenation: Urban Husbandry. They illustrate how this organic, sustainable process is already producing real-world results. What's more, they show the tremendous advantages of low-cost, modest initiatives over the blockbuster resuscitation efforts of traditional large-scale Project Planning—the budget-busting convention centers, aquariums, stadiums, and other stand-alone solutions that do little to improve the city around them.
Throughout this book the authors address the key issues facing the nation's cities and towns today, including transportation planning and sprawl containment, the threat of big-box superstore retailers, and the preservation of the essential downtown components necessary to anchor a thriving, vibrant community. Gratz and Mintz show us that rebuilding authentic places, reconnecting communities, and stimulating innovative change are within everyone's reach.
Cities Back from the Edge turns the spotlight on the resurgence of downtown America in a new and insightful way. With proven ideas on how to correct the mistakes of the past several decades, this book offers new hope that our cities will not merely be rebuilt—but reborn.
In Cities Back from the Edge, Gratz and Mintz offer a love song for the city...their volume, attractively packaged and richly illustrated, is really a cookbook for downtown revitalization. It turns out the most valuable contribution to urban understanding of the year isn't only a book, it's also a bumper sticker: Think globally, act locally."--The Wall Street Journal
Cities Back From the Edge was featured again in The New York Times. Frank Rich writes, "In their new book persuasively arguing for less grandiose, more indigenous urban renewal, Roberta Brandes Gratz and Norman Mintz write that a 'collection of visitor attractions does not add up to a city' whether those attractions are cultural centers, convention centers, aquariums, stadiums or enclosed malls."--The New York Times
"...provides a fascinating insight into the US Urban Design scenario..." (Urban Design, Autumn 2001)
The paperback edition of the critically-acclaimed, pioneering book on successful urban recovery. Two urban experts draw on their firsthand observations of downtown change across the country to identify a flexible, effective approach to urban rejuvenation. From transportation planning and sprawl containment to the threat of superstore retailers, they address a host of key issues facing cities today.
"A love song for the city . . . [this] volume, attractively packaged and richly illustrated, is really a cookbook for downtown revitalization." --Wall Street Journal
In this pioneering book on successful urban recovery, two urban experts draw on their firsthand observations of downtown change across the country to identify a flexible, effective approach to urban rejuvenation. From transportation planning and sprawl containment to the threat of superstore retailers, they address a host of key issues facing our cities today.
Roberta Brandes Gratz (New York, NY), an award-winning journalist and urban critic, is author of the urban design classic The Living City. A former staff reporter for the New York Post, Gratz has written for the New York Times Magazine and other publications. Norman Mintz (New York, NY) has played a leading role in the field of downtown revitalization for more than twenty-five years. He is Design Director at the 34th Street Partnership in New York City and a consultant on downtown revitalization across the country.
About the Author
ROBERTA BRANDES GRATZ, the award-winning journalist and urban critic, is author of the urban design classic The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way. A former staff reporter for the New York Post, Gratz has also written for The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications.
NORMAN MINTZ has played a leading role in the field of downtown revitalization for more than 25 years. He is Design Director at the Grand Central Partnership in New York City and a consultant on downtown revitalization across the country.
Table of Contents
WHERE ARE WE?
Mansfield, Ohio--Getting Off the Big Project Merry-Go-Round.
The Mess We Have Made.
Project Planning or Urban Husbandry--The Choice.
TRANSPORTATION AND PLACE.
Death and Rebirth of the Public Realm.
Rebuilding Place, Valuing Transit.
BIG, LITTLE, AND PREDATOR.
Free Competition or No Competition?
You Don't Have to Be Wal-Mart to Be Wal-Mart.
To Market, To Market.
Public Buildings, Public Policies.
Back to Basics.
Investing in People.
The SoHo Syndrome.
Conclusion: Back from the Edge.