Saving America’s Cities: A Tried and Proven Plan to Revive Stagnant and Decaying Cities
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (07/10)
David McDonald observes “In the last six decades, no stagnant or decaying city has been globally or significantly saved – never!” In his book “Saving America’s Cities” he presents “a tried and proven plan to revive stagnant and decaying cities.”
McDonald begins with a careful study of the historical background that led up to the dilemma faced by stagnant and decaying cities in America today. A careful analysis of healthy cities ascertain commonalities and differences pointing out extenuating circumstances that have enabled the excellent performance of cities like Portland, Oregon, San Antonio, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina. McDonald established the need for a global vision and the maintaining of a focus on the four basic global goals of stabilizing growth.
I found the McDonald’s statistical tables and comparisons helpful in understanding his analysis of the problems cities are faced with today. To establish his calculations for these tables the author relied heavily on the numbers provided in the “Editor & Publisher Market Guide 2009: The Directory of newspaper markets and demographics” edited by C. Chironna. The resultant comparisons of the cities considered was both interesting and enlightening.
Other features, I found helpful include the careful organization of the contents detailing material within each chapter, the comprehensive index, and the items included in the appendix. A list of references provides resources for additional reading and future study.
Although some of the information McDonald presents is repeated or overlapping, it serves as a reminder to take note in a future chapter or to review the issues considered earlier. Some readers may find this redundant. McDonald’s material is well organized, well articulated, pertinent, and forthright.
The chapters entitled “Beginning the Process for Saving Your City” and “The Ten Commandments for Stabilizing and Growing Your City” offer invaluable guidelines for implementation.
“Saving America’s Cities” is a clarion call to action for City Planners, Concerned Citizens Groups, and government leaders, leaders in business and industry, and developers of office buildings, housing, retail, dining, entertainment, and sports venues. This is a book that should be on university reading lists for students who are formulating their ideals, visions, and dreams for the future.