Cities: Light in the Frightening Corners

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Once a land of farms, fields, forests and neat white towns, the U.S. today is a nation of "metropolitan areas." Last year the Census Bureau listed 224 of them,* containing 70% of the U.S. population.

Through some cultural lag, Americans continue to speak of "the cities" in accents implying that they are something different and special. But the cities today are America, and "the problems of the cities" are pretty much synonymous with the problems of America. To be sure, there are vast physical and psychic differences between Manhattan and some of...

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