After Urban Renewal, Learning From New York City

Mary Newsom reviews a new book on New York City by Roberta Brandez Gratz, and finds lessons that cross borders even into her very different city of Charlotte.

"Her book is partly urban observation and partly memoir of her life in the city. But the insight she offers that has resonance for Charlotte and other U.S. cities is this:

The post-World War II distress that afflicted New York and many cities - which began easing in the 1980s - relates to the start and end of urban renewal. New York began healing, she writes, only when urban renewal money dried up.

Gratz' observations - as well as Jacobs' - convince her that small businesses, and particularly small manufacturing, form the overlooked and underappreciated backbone of cities' economic vitality."

The book, "The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs", looks at the legacy of urban renewal projects, and how even in their wake, cities are still inadvertently destroying the small businesses that help them survive.

Full Story: What urban 'renewal' didn't renew


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