Images of Renewal and Decline
By Robert Beauregard

Confronting Strategies in Urban Reinvention - The Urban Reinventors, Issue Nr. 1, June 2007

From Sydney to Seattle, from Johannesburg to Helsinki, civic elites have become obsessed with the image that their cities project to the world. At a time when cities must compete with each other for investors, tourists, tax revenues, and middle-class residents, how the city is perceived is considered of paramount importance. Consequently, city boosters commission a variety of images: of gleaming office towers, of lively streets bordered by cafes, of housing whose residents can gaze out on both snow-capped mountains and multi-peaked skylines, of sailboats nestled in downtown marinas, and of couples and families strolling along riverfront parks (…).

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All Images are courtesy of Camilo José Vergara and excerpted from the website “Invincible Cities”

Remarks presented at “Beyond the Post-Industrial City,” Rutgers University-Camden, November 18, 2005.

Robert A. Beauregard is Professor of Urban Planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University, New York. His most recent book is When America became Suburban (2006), a study of the postwar interaction of mass suburbanization, industrial city decline, domestic prosperity, and global dominance that links the dynamics of place to the construction of national identity. He is also author of Voices of Decline: The Postwar Fate of US Cities (2003), among other books.

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