Cities on the Plain
Small, Gritty, and Green:
The Promise of America's Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World (Urban and Industrial Environments)
by Catherine Tumber
$24.95 List Price
“Don’t laugh.” It’s the very first paragraph, and Catherine Tumber is already worried that we won’t take her seriously. She has good reason, since the thesis of her new book is that small Rust Belt cities can help all of us turn green.
It’s a bold and hopeful thesis, but also a tough sell. After all, as Tumber notes at the outset of Small, Gritty, and Green, debates about urban issues have long been dominated by big-city people who tend to disparage or ignore the dull, diminutive towns scattered across “flyover country.” H. L. Mencken, the master of the “cosmopolitan sneer” in Tumber’s view, depicted small-city residents as credulous, crude, and conformist, while Jane Jacobs, who grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, championed “great cities” but had no interest in the little ones. Today, condescending
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