Blair commits the old fallacy of correlation: cities contain crime, pollution, congestion, emotional disease, and the like,...

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THE INTERNATIONAL URBAN CRISIS

Blair commits the old fallacy of correlation: cities contain crime, pollution, congestion, emotional disease, and the like, therefore urban concentration itself must be at fault -- which begs the question of the civilized freedom cities afford, as well as the question of how badly some cities are run. To bolster his familiar argument, Blair makes some factual distortions and omissions: Wuhan and other Chinese cities of millions have seen a vast drop in crime over 25 years, while rural Bangladesh and Ceylon, among others, have witnessed unparalleled eruptions. He even goes so far as to attribute the French 1968 May Days to ""violence-prone"" city life. A London-based American teacher of city planning who should know better, he also claims that ""In all the world's major cities, transportation systems are approaching the breaking point."" But Stockholm's transit is first-rate; those of Moscow, Leningrad and Peking are adequate. And when Blair blames population growth for the severe problems that exist, without reckoning the state of technology and funding, he invites the London Economist's rejoinder that if the horse manure of 1885 London still existed, Londoners would today be knee-deep. Blair includes a grab bag of remedies: auto taxis, new towns, regional management, local democracy, and -- who could disagree? -- better planning. After so many books on the urban crisis we deserve a newer and better diagnosis.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1973