The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 24, 2012 - Political Science - 288 pages

In The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City we travel the nation with Alan Ehrenhalt, one of our leading urbanists, as he explains how America’s cities are changing, what makes them succeed or fail, and what this means for our future.
Just a couple of decades ago, we took it for granted that inner cities were the preserve of immigrants and the poor, and that suburbs were the chosen destination of those who could afford them. Today, a demographic inversion is taking place: Central cities increasingly are where the affluent want to live, while suburbs are becoming home to poorer people and those who come to America from other parts of the world. Highly educated members of the emerging millennial generation are showing a decided preference for urban life and are being joined in many places by a new class of affluent retirees.
Ehrenhalt shows us how the commercial canyons of lower Manhattan are becoming residential neighborhoods, and how mass transit has revitalized inner-city communities in Chicago and Brooklyn. He explains why car-dominated cities like Phoenix and Charlotte have sought to build twenty-first-century downtowns from scratch, while sprawling postwar suburbs are seeking to attract young people with their own form of urbanized experience.
The Great Inversion is an eye-opening and thoroughly engaging look at our urban society and its future.

From the Hardcover edition.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

The momentum of history changes once again. From the Great Migration to Urban Flight to Gentrification and something new again entirely. But Ehrenhalt says differently. The old demographic shift was ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Bluster - LibraryThing

Ehrenhalt argues that there is a tendency for upper middle class Americans to move back into city centres and similar "live/work/play" walkable communities. This is contrary to the latter half of the ... Read full review


prolo Gue Trading Places
chapter ONE A Backward Glance
chapter two A Neighborhood in Chicago 4
chapter three Recreation in New York
Chapter four The New Suburbia
chapter seven The Urban Squeeze
CHAPTER EIGHT Creating a Downtown
chapter Nine Urbanizing the Suburbs

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Alan Ehrenhalt was the executive editor of Governing magazine from 1990 to 2009. He is the author of three books: The United States of Ambition, The Lost City, and Democracy in the Mirror. In 2000, he was the winner of the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams Award for distinguished contributions to the field of political science by a journalist. He is currently executive editor of Stateline, a daily news service reporting on politics and policy in all fifty states. Ehrenhalt lives near Washington, D.C.

Bibliographic information