The Future of American Cities, Part 1

From: Redeemer City to City

During roughly twenty years from 1970 to 1990, American cities went into sharp decline. The migration of African-Americans from the south to northern cities resulted in white flight and the creation of inner city ghettoes. In the late ’70s and early ’80s That There Were protracted recessions diminished tax Revenues and drove some cities into virtual or actual bankruptcy. Meanwhile, urban planning in the mid-20th century and privileged the automobile stores and big stadiums and lots of parking and no residents and massive housing projects for the poor. All of this led to downtowns That Were like ghost-towns after dark, and neighborhoods riddled with crime That Were. The middle class fled Along with many jobs, leaving the poor even poorer neighborhoods. Cities Were polarized into poor non-white centers and affluent white suburbs.

However, for the last twenty years, since 1990, American cities have experienced an amazing renaissance. During this time many cities’ population declines have reversed or at Least slowed. People Began moving back into cities in droves, and downtown / center cities Began to regenerate at Their cores. Why? First, During this time the U.S. experienced remarkable economic growth and what is now being called a series of economic “bubbles.” This created a great deal of new wealth and new jobs. Second, crime went down in cities, probably for Both liberals and conservatives Reasons Talked acerca (job creation, tougher law enforcement). Third, cultural the mood Became what we now call “post-modern,” that is a culture enjoys Which eclecticism, a mixture of the old and new, asymmetry, messiness and unmanageability, cultural diversity, and the artistic. All of These are features of city-life rather than the suburbs, que are much more controlled and homogeneous. Fourth, and Perhaps Most important of all, changes in immigration law in 1965 (the Hart-Celler Act) opened the door to an Influx from non-European nations. Between 1965 and 1970 U.S. immigration Doubled and then from 1970 to 1990 Doubled it again. Most of this wave of immigrants went into America’s cities, renewing and Diversifying many neighborhoods. Also It completely changed the older, gridlocked, binary black-white dynamic of urban politics to a far more complex, multi-polar situation of many ethnicities and nationalities.

As a result many American cities Began to arise…..

Read the rest at Redeemer City to City.

Topics: The City
Church: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

About the Author

Dr. Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Chairman of Redeemer City to City, and author of numerous bestselling books.