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Cities and Crisis (Paperback) (Josef W. Konvitz)
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Cities have been missing from analyses of the crisis and debates about how to generate a sustainable recovery. Illuminating recent trends and emerging risks, Cities and crisis is about the future, starting where we are.A fresh assessment is needed of what has changed since 1990 and what has not, of policy assumptions about urban economies, of the lessons of experience. Cities and crisis looks at the strengths and weaknesses of macro-economic and sectoral policies to guide urban development in relation to housing, infrastructure, innovation, and their impacts on shrinking cities and regions, and on cities striving to be more livable and competitive. Years of very low growth will make it difficult to improve urban innovation and infrastructure investment; but without that investment, growth will remain below potential. The prospect of more frequent and more costly crises to come, environmental, health, and even economic frames a discussion of the vulnerability of cities, of resilience as a part of preparedness, and of the limits of domestic regulation to cope with mega-disasters and cross-border risks.Policies that worked in the past are less effective today, yet governments seem incapable of setting out a vision for the future of cities which is necessary for long-term investments. Years of very low growth will make it difficult to improve urban innovation and infrastructure investment; but without that investment, growth will remain below potential.The West has always resolved once-in-a-century crises with a paradigm shift. Every great economic paradigm speaks to our collective fears and hopes. In the twenty-first century, a new paradigm is needed to reduce high levels of uncertainty, and to improve problem-solving. We may need radical reforms to get practical solutions to strengthen urban economies and reduce the impact of urban disasters and crises, our major challenges. A new paradigm for urban development in the twenty-first century is more likely to emerge after a series of shocks, exposing the shortcomings of governments to protect their citizens and territories; things may get worse before they get better. Paradigm shifts in economic governance have been undertaken successfully in the past; we are just out of practice.Drawing on dozens of OECD reports on economic, environmental and governance, Cities and crisis provides a 'long-term, big-time' framework to understand many technical issues that complicate decision-making and policy. This book is suitable for the general public that follows current affairs and wants to know why policy needs to be reoriented to make cities safer and more productive.