You remember all those gallows jokes about American cities-like: will the last person out of Cleveland please turn out the lights. And then things got worse-if you went by the numbers and the conversational pall around the basket case of urban America. The white folks left, and middle-class black folks, too; and jobs and business. One of the best of the big-city mayors Ed Rendell of Philadelphia said the cause was lost, because the doctor wasn’t treating a bullet wound; he was confronting rampant cancer, without resources.
So the cities were left for dead, and guess what happened? Paul Grogan says they got vastly better and will get better yet-on the strength of poor-people’s markets and politics, on the further fall of crime rates, and the bust-up of the top-down bureaucracies running public schools and public housing. The really promising secret is that, as the man in Chicago said: “people like it here.” Comeback Cities are this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Paul Grogan, author of “Comeback Cities”