A major theme of late 20th century urban studies involves the failure of the CDB (central business district) of American cities. In his work, Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in America 1940-1985, Jon Teaford explores this theme in a way that works wonderfully in college classrooms. This book is excerpted in the American Urban Reader in the selection entitled “Messiah Mayors and the Gospel of Urban Hype” starting on page 229. The New York Times article below pairs beautifully with this selection. In the article, western towns’ experiments with urban development, especially large arenas, are detailed.
In the slumping economy, and with our growing tendency toward couch-potatoness (why leave the house to see a live show when we have Netflix, movies on demand, video games, mog, and other services available right through the remote control?) venues for live entertainment are not fairing well in many of our cities.