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.
The authors, professors of urban studies at MIT, present a brief for inner-city revitalization projects such as Boston's Faneuil Hall marketplace, the Horton Place complex in San Diego and retail centers in Seattle and St. Paul. Critics have branded such projects artificial enclaves that turn city residents into tourists and favor corporate interests at the expense of the citizenry. The authors strongly disagree, arguing that downtown retail developments create jobs, promote economic development and reassert middle-class control over crumbling areas. They further contend that, given federal funding cutbacks, cities have no other pragmatic course than to make deals with coalitions of real estate developers and business interests. A book for specialists, the study is full of details on the financing and politics that undergird downtown rebuilding schemes. Photos. (Dec.)