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City: Urbanism and Its End

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  12 reviews
This extraordinary book is both a richly textured portrait of New Haven, Connecticut, and the story of the rise and fall of American cities. Douglas Rae depicts the reasons for urban decline, explains why government spending has failed to restore urban vitality, and offers suggestions to enhance city life in the future.
“A terrific read, moving seductively from the minutiae
...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published March 11th 2005 by Yale University Press (first published September 10th 2003)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Geoffrey Lawson
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone who has lived in New Haven or wishes to understand the effects of urban renewal in American cities. Due to its small size and the huge sums of federal money spent on renewal, New Haven, as a discrete and easily discernible entity, is the perfect case study.
Angi
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Clearly a masterpiece. However, I found it difficult to read through so many tables recording numbers of mills and groceries in New Haven throughout the years. The format is hard to engage in. Certainly plan on keeping this book on my shelf as a reference.
Cynthia
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Read because it was recommended on Ezra Klein's podcast, and also because I grew up in New Haven, which this detailed sociology is primarily about. A very useful, and ultimately sad, explanation of urban decline, why government spending hasn't worked, and what can be done.
Mark
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a really big book that has a lot of information - it required a lot of time, but it gave me a lot more than I expected - I got a new understanding of America and how political/economic forces are quite different to my home in Australia.

The hard cover version is massive - best read in many short sessions before you go to sleep each night, and you can use it as a weapon if you catch the bus or train to work each day. The author took me on a journey through the life of New Haven - through
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Thomas
I bought this on impulse during a weekday jaunt through downtown Minneapolis in February 2007. Unlike other books published by the Yale University Press, this one is eminently readable and presents data clearly in the form of maps, charts, and photographs.

Rae, New Haven's former City Manager from the early 1990s, tells a compelling story of how New Haven, Connecticut underwent its transformation from a city of closely-knit neighborhoods filled with dynamic social institutions to a community
...more
Michael
Dec 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
If you happen to be an enthusiast of urban development history...and a resident of New Haven...and a student at Yale...and are enrolled in one of Rae's courses...then do I have a book for you! Rae's book is most comprehensive in a very limited way - covering specific aspects and examples of a specific period pre-urban renewal and a specific period during New Haven's bold urban renewal. In that regards, this is a great book that deals with the political, cultural, economic, and social climate ...more
Stephen
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
With a Master's degree in City Planning you would think that I would not want to read a book of this title. Not true. This is a well researched and written bock, eminently readable and understandable. No city planning jargon here. It does both: extolling the virtues of urban life while lamenting its demise. If it were not for Mother Yale, New Haven would be another Bridgeport, or Camden, or Detroit. And you can be mad at Yale, although you cannot fault them for trying. Who would want to pay ...more
Kate
Oct 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Another good name for this book might be: How Capitalism built and then destroyed cities. Focuses on New Haven, Conn. Prior to reading this I didn't know anything about New Haven, other than that it is the home of Yale. But the city actually has a blue-collar, manufacturing heritage, which the author details.
Jennifer
I borrowed this from the library because a copy of it had been in our store at work and I was curious. I have a passing interest in the subject, but not really enough to finish the book. It's well written, and informative, but requires a bit more concentration than I'm willing to give it right now.
Gary Geiger
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociial-science
Really, I give this 4.5 stars. But I rounded up. Very good look at New Haven over the years and its rise and fall. I learned a lot from this book and it is inspiring me to read more on the economic history of different cities.
Lucas
Apr 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very specific in its study of the history of New Haven, although New Haven could be almost American city. Excellent account of the driving forces behind the decline of American cities.
Ilya Gerner
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Best study of urbanism I've ever read. Has a narrow focus on development of New Haven, CT but the lessons are applicable to every city.
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