If you're something of a daredevil, and further, if you've ever wondered what it'd be like to climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge --- or wander amid the catacombs beneath Paris, or maybe just take an up-close look at a "ghost station" within the far-reaching New York City subway system --- you might be a latent "urban explorer." Our guest on ST is an active explorer of this sort; Moses Gates, who joins us by phone, is also an urban planner, a licensed New York City tour guide, and an assistant professor of demography at the Pratt Institute.
On today's ST, we speak by phone with the journalist, author, and veteran urbanologist Alan Ehrenhalt, whose books include "The United States of Ambition" and "The Lost City." Ehrenhalt's latest book, "The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City," is just out in paperback. This book argues that the roles and characteristics of America's cities and suburbs are basically changing places with one another --- younger adults and affluent retirees are moving into the city, while immigrants and the less affluent are moving out to the 'burbs.
In many cities across this country, urban planning initiatives are often celebrated for their fresh ideas or green principles, their small-town feeling or street-level appeal, their overall city-friendly yet neighborly vibe. But getting the folks in a given community to support urban planning goals before they have actually occurred is difficult to do --- mainly because such goals can seem too abstract, too hard to visualize or imagine.