Livable Cities: A Grassroots Guide to Rebuilding Urban America

by Robert CassidyHolt, Rinehart and Winston, $8.95
Robert Cassidy is a sort of renegade planner/journalist who does not buy the idea that America’s cities are going to pot. Instead, he notes that most major urban centers in this country are in the midst of a “revitalization” that has begun to reverse the chronic postwar shift of middle-class renters and homeowners from the inner city to the suburbs. Left behind, however, and floundering, are low-income tenants and city dwellers living on fixed incomes. As Cassidy points out, urban revitalization means an influx of new money, which in turn leads to speculation, to paper profits, and inevitably to exploitation of the poor or uneducated.
Livable Cities is clearly written and nonpolemical, a “How To” book addressed to people of moderate means who live in the city and want to remain there. It bristles with strategies for achieving community control of residential areas, for home ownership, and for conscious use of tax and residential codes, as well as other statutory forms of relief. Still better, Cassidy describes the experiences of communities who have fought such battles and have won.