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Bernard J. Frieden

Bernard J. Frieden is Class of 1942 Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT and Chairman of the MIT Faculty.

Titles by This Author

How America Rebuilds Cities

Our cities are on the move again. Pioneering observers of the urban landscape Bernard Frieden and Lynn Sagalyn delve into the inner workings of the new public entrepreneurship and public private partnerships that have revitalized the downtowns of such cities as Boston, San Diego, Seattle, St. Paul, and Pasadena. They bring a unique combination of political and economic expertise to their analysis of this hot new marketplace, depicting a generation of mayors and administrators who differ in style from their predecessors and who have a more informed relationship with developers.

Downtown Inc. is a progress report on what has happened to our cities in the second half of this century, documenting new directions and more productive strategies for rebuilding downtown. Frieden and Sagalyn take a close look at the retail industry and illustrate how, in cities across the country, maverick developers and enterprising mayors found creative solutions to the problems presented by conservative lenders, political controversy, and shrinking Federal subsidies.

Substantial studies of four big city malls - Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Town Square in St. Paul, the Pike Place Market in Seattle, and Horton Plaza in San Diego - show in detail what it takes to succeed: a free wheeling entrepreneurial style, flexible deals, financing on the go, and design plans that change as needed. They also highlight the inventive designs that fit these projects into crowded downtowns, attracting record crowds to their doors, and show conversely how conflicts over Columbus Circle, Times Square, and Bryant Park in New York embody the problems that cities must overcome when they try to combine private profit with civic purpose.

Downtown Inc. surveys the results to date to see if there is a real agenda for downtown in the mix of convention centers, malls, stadiums, hotels, and promotional events. Besides the obvious successes of bringing in money and reversing decay in urban centers, Frieden and Sagalyn document the emergence of new downtown economies in New York, Pittsburgh, and other cities as major job centers for a broad cross section of people.

Urban Aid from Model Cities to Revenue Sharing

This critical evaluation of the efforts by the federal government to reduce poverty and alleviate inequality in the inner cities during the past decade is the work of two urban scholars who were themselves deeply involved in the design, implementation, and review of those programs from 1965 through the early 1970s. Their balanced, three-dimensional view is achieved through the double focus of academic detachment and practical experience.

The book traces the Model Cities Program from its origins as the proposed grand coordinator of all the Great Society's urban expectations, one intended to marshal and interrelate independent federal agencies horizontally and levels of government vertically, with the newly established Department of Housing and Urban Development wielding the conductor's baton. From these heady beginnings, the authors chart the subsequent inablility of both the Johnson and Nixon administrations to implement the program effectively, and the reasons why results failed to measure up to rhetorical goals and early overoptimism.

By analyzing the performance of the federal bureaucracy, Congress, and the White House, this study explains why officials in Washington were unable to meet the priorities of the cities and why the cities in turn were unable to use federal resources to make significant improvements in their poverty neighborhoods. Furthermore, the book offers an initial interpretation of two newly established programs-special and general revenue sharing-which aim, from a different direction, at some of the same goals as did the Model Cities Program, but which have failed to learn some of the key cautionary lessons that a proper study of the earlier program should have taught. After documenting the failure of grand designs for a coordinated federal approach to urban problems in the 1960s, the authors propose an alternative strategy for making effective use of revenue sharing and other current programs for the cities. As they state, "A careful reading of the federal implementation effort should help to define a future role for the federal government in reducing poverty and inequality, drawing on the experiences of the 1960s but without repeating the overly optimistic assumptions and mistakes of that decade."

In addition to the published literature, The Politics of Neglect makes use of information until now unavailable to other scholars: the authors' recollection of their personal participation, private files kept by a number of former federal officials, and interviews with these and other officials who served on the White House staff and in the federal agencies during two administrations. This book will offer insight to laymen and professionals alike, including mayors, public administrators, concerned citizens, city planners, and students of urban problems.

Rebuilding for a Changing Population

The rebuilding of cities is now a matter of national concern. Both the federal government and the cities are heavily involved in problems of housing and the future of declining neighborhoods, but the development of public policies that link housing concerns with rebuilding programs is a difficult task. Results of this study provide a sharp definition of the social and economic constraints influencing renewal programs and suggest a number of guidelines for achieving housing goals while rebuilding the city.

Big-city experience in the 1950's has demonstrated both the social and economic value of the old neighborhoods, which serve as zones of passage for low-income groups new to urban life. The housing available in these areas has made possible improved living conditions for many people, and it is still well utilized. The great migration of ethnic and minority groups into the cities suggests a continuing heavy demand for these homes during at least the next decade or two.

If public policies are to serve broad social goals, there can be little justification for clearing away neighborhoods prematurely. Under present conditions, large-scale clearance programs deprive people of valuable housing resources and in many cases bring on further hardships by uprooting people who have strong ties to a local community.

This book proposes a policy of gradual and continuous rebuilding of the old areas, keeping pace with the abandonment of housing and replacing only surplus houses. Detailed studies of New York, Los Angeles, and Hartford indicate that under a wide variety of local conditions this policy is economically feasible. Recent experience in these cities suggests a number of ways in which public action can create suitable conditions for a gradual rebuilding of the old neighborhoods.

The findings pf this study will be of special interest to public officials and citizens concerned with housing and urban renewal, and to city planners, political scientists, land economists, and urban sociologists.