Cities in the Urban AgeA Dissent

Cities in the Urban AgeA Dissent

Robert A. Beauregard

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226535241

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

In this self-proclaimed Urban Age, the city is touted as the source of economic prosperity, a nurturer or social and cultural diversity, and a place primed for democracy. Its fertile ground gives rise to innovations that speed society along a path of progress. Without cities, human civilization, we are led to believe, will falter and decay. Not just hyperbolic, this is celebratory by half. While Cities in an Urban Age recognizes the value and wonder of cities, it rejects this view through rose-colored glasses. Instead, it argues that the city is a cauldron for the contradictions that haunt life on planet Earth. In this real place, we find wealth juxtaposed with poverty, environmental destructiveness in tension with environmental sustainability, oligarchy pushing against democracy, and tolerance fighting defensively against the onslaught of intolerance. Taking the U.S. city as its empirical ground, this book explores the ways in which these contradictions shape daily life for those who reside there.