The City: Under the Knife, or All For Their Own Good

The status symbol among U.S. cities these days is the bombed-out look.

Every self-respecting city seems to want to be hideous with rubble and raw earth, crawling with helmeted workers, snorting earthmovers and angular cranes. These are the signs and portents of the biggest civic building boom the U.S.—or any other country—has known. It goes by the name of urban renewal, but it might also be called emergency surgery. The metaphor is thoroughly consistent. Considerable pain is involved, and sometimes shock. There is inevitable destruction of healthy tissue,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!