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The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It
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The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  642 ratings  ·  106 reviews

In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. And yet all is not well, Richard Florida argues in The New Urban Crisis. Florida, one of the first scholars to anticipate this back-to-the-city movement in his groundbreaking The Rise of the Creative Class, demonstrates how the same
Hardcover, First Edition (U.S.), 336 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Basic Books (first published April 2017)
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Start your review of The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It
Graeme Roberts
May 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found The New Urban Crisis interesting in parts, although it lacked coherence and credibility. I must admit that I am prejudiced against most urban planning, which I believe is often nothing more than utopian social engineering. It has been shown to fail again and again, with many disastrous instances in post-war Britain, the United States, the Soviet bloc, and around the world. Cities have many of the characteristics of living things, and they evolve like them. Their residents, businesses, ...more
Matt Lennert
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I want to be careful here: this book is a classic, a necessary reference for this point in time, but it is also a slog, a college text-type statistical brick and was not that fun to read. I feel like it was good for me, but it doesn't mean I really enjoyed it. Kind of like working out. But, I'm glad I did read it and you should, too.

Florida revisits his thesis of 17 years ago regarding the creative class and alters his position somewhat after deeply, I mean deeply, researching the radical
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The books is pretty dry, but very important. The thesis is pretty jarring--we are headed toward cities of elites and suburbs of poverty and isolation. This is no surprise really and we've all seen it coming. His solutions at the end are worth paying attention to--pay attention to transit, more rental housing, better jobs. However, he seems to give up on the rest of the country. Is it possible to revive some places between suburbs and cities? like college towns or other cool places where you can ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, cities
Although I've read many of his articles on CityLab, this is the first full book I've read by Richard Florida. I was slightly surprised at how surface-level this book felt. The analysis and presentation of data was definitely useful in providing some concrete proof of certain economic and geographic trends, this book ultimately felt more like belated observation than anything else.

I personally am not a fan of the fact the way Florida is very keen to come up with a catchy title for so many
Anne V.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
First, I am going to say: Hey authors, readers are not stupid.

I am always mad when I think I am going to be reading an information packed treatise on a subject that interests me, and then I find that it is really just another political propaganda piece masquerading as a neutral informed problem solving theoretical premise. While the underlying support for the theory is reasonable and complex, including research (though some of the information is direct from mainstream media rather than science)
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban_policy, america
As a Bay Area resident facing rising rental costs, diminishing access to home ownership, crappy public transit systems dismantled by out-of-control car culture, and the expulsion by cities of their historically poor and non-white residents, I had hoped The New Urban Crisis would shed some valuable insights into how to move forward. It didn't. Instead there were lots of descriptions of the situation, but limited support for which policy experiments we should be trying, which cities/neighborhoods ...more
Fraser Kinnear
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Florida explains what he means by an urban crisis, what fundamental forces are causing it, and how to solve it.

The Crisis:
- Leading cities (NYC, LA, SF/SJ, Chicago, Seattle, etc) are consolidating all of the key growth sectors in a winner-take-all moment that is leaving the rest of the country behind
- These superstar cities are exploding housing prices and increasing segregation
- Every city is experiencing inequality, segregation, and sorting, and the middle class is disappearing from cities.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I'll be honest and, right at the top, say that the only reason I liked it was because he said a lot of things that I agree with. But this was far short of an excellent book. First off, the technical issues: a whole chapter of charts and all the text did was reiterate what was in the charts. Now, if that was done for accessibility purposes (making it useable for the sight-impaired), nice, but it was really annoying for those of us that do see. Charts sum up things very nicely. If you're going to ...more
Jim Robles
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five stars! Professor Florida captures how "clustering" is at once the source of innovation and economic growth, as well as the greatest source of our lamentable income inequality and wealth inequality. How ironic that inequality correlates with Democratic control (as well as population density), while Republican control correlates negatively.

I was struck that Professor Florida did not mention "Smart Growth" (AKA the best approach to stop the habitat destruction that is the leading cause of the
I found this book dry, dull and unengaging. But balance my ambiguity with other commenters and reviewers. A few observations that stuck with me:

— A suburban crisis unfolds. In half of the biggest urban centers, the area with three miles of a city’s central business district added jobs at a faster rate than their suburbs. These cities include Milwaukee, Austin, Indianapolis and New York. Florida also found that jobs in urban centers pay more than ones in the suburbs.

— Florida, while writing
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I agree with others' critique that there is too much data and statistics (for this reason, chapters 5-7 can be skimmed), but the book's strength is its overarching argument about very topical and relevant issues. The chapter on gentrification was different than other arguments I've heard, and the chapter on global urbanization was both sobering and promising. I also appreciated the point that America's longstanding conservative rural bias is outdated and overblown, again a point I haven't heard ...more
Michael Siliski
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty good intro to the critical issues facing our cities today. It's grounded in lots of data and has a solid perspective on both the necessity for growth & productivity in our cities and the resulting challenges, especially on the equity front. It's solidly in the Freakonomics/Pinker lane of books written for mass appeal, and I could definitely do with a little less obsession about stamping his own brand on every metric. Also felt like the solutions section at the end ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
From a recent article plugging ideas from EO Wilson's 'Half-Earth'...

"Cities are part of the system we’ve invented to keep people alive on Earth. People tend to like cities, and have been congregating in them ever since the invention of agriculture, 10,000 or so years ago. That’s why we call it civilisation. This origin story underlines how agriculture made cities possible, by providing enough food to feed a settled crowd on a regular basis. Cities can’t work without farms, nor without
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
It's a fine enough read, I guess, but Richard Florida keeps trying to coin catchy, pithy, authoritative NAMES for complex social phenomena that are not quite captured by his catchy, pithy, authoritative NAMES.

Richard Florida keeps trying to make "fetch" happen.
Christina Wiseman
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
As someone who has not extensively studied economics or urban planning, I was sometimes overwhelmed with the data and terms. However, the story still resonates, and the data will be great reference.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Richard Florida is an unapologetic partisan hack. He makes no attempt to conceal that his ideas are driven purely by his political ideology, nor does he make any sincere attempt to develop policy recommendations that are data-driven or empirically supported.

Indeed, he confesses that there is insufficient data to back up his claims and yet still goes on to recommend that his policies be implemented worldwide, not just in American cities. Such hubris is shocking, but there you have it.

Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The first 9 chapters felt very repetitive; the last chapter saved it to a 3. I found the ideas compelling, even as they were hammered in again and again.
Katrina Sark
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it

p.xvi – My research found that the metros with the highest level of wage inequality were also those with the most dynamic and successful creative economies – San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Seattle, Washington DC, and New York. But even as I was documenting these new divides, I had no idea how fast they would metastasize, or how deeply polarized these cities would become. In little more than a decade, the revitalization of our cities and our urban areas that I had predicted was giving rise
I was already familiar with most of the concepts in this book as I’ve previously read some of Richard Florida’s articles and discussed the same topics in many of my urban planning and economic development courses back in university. I didn’t agree with everything that Florida mentioned, but the topics were still pretty interesting and I like that this book includes a lot of Canadian examples (mostly of the GTHA, although Vancouver was also mentioned). Overall though, this was a very dull and ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-won
I won a copy of this book.

I found this an interesting read. While I don't agree with everything written in this book, I would say that some of it makes a lot of sense. Florida makes a compelling argument for what cities need and has some really good ideas that should be looked at.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
The initial chapters provide the data behind his research. The final 3 chapters deal with actions plans for the future. Below is a quote from Jane Jacobs on pg 177.
"To seek the 'causes' of poverty is an intellectual dead end because poverty has no causes. Only prosperity has causes," Jane Jacob wrote. "The great cold of poverty and economic stagnation is merely the absence of economic development."

Poverty occurs in the absence of institutions that unleash the creative energy of people and
Michael Shaw
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I loved the idea of this book, and still want to find a good explanation of what ails our best cities, and what we can do to fix them.

Unfortunately, Florida's book wasn't that. It started off fine, but then went off into a series of made up indices that all seemed to have normalization issues (it's hard to believe that of all the smaller cities, none of them are more extreme than the biggest few).

The proposed solutions were even worse--alternating between nationalism and federalism depending on
Scott Schneider
Apr 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I was disappointed in this book. Florida crunch a lot of data but much of the book is list after list of data for different cities. And some of the maps couldn't be interpreted because they were in black and white and two different factors were indistinguishable. That said his analysis is spot on. Cities are in crisis because they are becoming unaffordable and the suburbs are dying. We are becoming more and more segregated economically and racially. We need to put more efforts into preserving ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been a fan of Florida's writing since reading 'The Rise of the Creative Class' back in the day. This book offers an update to the overall theory as it relates to the focus of talent and income and how that relates to the movement of population to cities of the world and where that shift is taking us globally. Packed with data to make his point, the book can be a little dry but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
I've read 3 (I think) of Richard Florida's other books and I really enjoyed all of them. But I was bored by this book. The other books mixed made up characters with data, but this was just data. There were some very interesting facts and figures and I totally agree with his assertions but it wasn't an ethnography (so no people to root for/against) and it wasn't as entertaining as I was expecting.
John Behle
Jun 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Richard Florida jumped out to an interesting start, the first two chapters had me playing along. By the third chapter, I got stuck in his thick grass of repetitive, numbing statistics and textbook style comparisons. My grip began to slip.

I like cities and enjoyed Urban Planning classes in college.

But I had to pull the plug on this work at the halfway point. I tried to follow, but the points he was making just got mired in seemingly paid-by-the-word verbosity.
Becca Dzombak
Dec 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
I didn't actually finish reading this; I thought the writing was repetitive, clunky, and dull. I also found his attitude and perspective way too ego-centric and narrow-minded. A feeling of self-importance bleeds through his analyses, and I couldn't deal with that, especially given some of the nuanced topics he brings up. I won't be reading anything by him in the future.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I would have liked this more if it was more succinct, but it's a helpful (though discouraging) analysis of urbanism in the 21st century. His take on Houston is mostly bad. We are diverse, though segregated, and we aren't investing in the infrastructure to produce the kind clustering and density that creates superstar cities. At least I think that was his take.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh. Parts of this were interesting but it was tough to get through overall. Very heavy on statistics and data.
Anne Shaver
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Good information and important information, but it was pretty dry reading. I would have liked to read some personal accounts or interviews to add to the data.
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Richard Florida (born 1957 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American urban studies theorist.
Richard Florida's focus is on social and economic theory. He is currently a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management, at the University of Toronto. He also heads a private consulting firm, the Creative Class Group.
Prof. Florida received a PhD from Columbia