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.