A Series of Essays on the Urban Future

The Future of Cities

Whether hundreds of years ago or today, the far-reaching environmental impacts of urbanization are because cities are “a node of pure consumption existing parasitically on an extensive external resource base.” These environmental impacts have been catastrophic, with 78 percent of carbon emissions, 60 percent of residential water use, and 76 percent of wood used for industrial purposes attributed to cities over the past century.

This book is being published as a series, with permission of the American Enterprise Institute. Each week a new chapter will be published, with links to each chapter.

Click or tap a link below to read or download each chapter. (PDFs open in new tab or window)

Next-Generation American Suburbs – Alan M. Berger (new this week)

Alan M. Berger is professor of landscape and urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the founding director of P-REX lab. His research includes urban planning for autonomous mobility, resilient urbanism, growth boundary landscapes, reclamation of ecological systems, wetland design, and sustainable cities and suburban forms. His most recent book, edited with Carolyn Kousky and Billy Fleming, is A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation: Uniting Design, Economics, and Policy (Island Press, 2021). His articles and essays have been published in over 60 international journals and media outlets, including the New York Times, Economist, Smithsonian, Boston Globe, and Forbes.

Read the Series:

Introduction: Welcome to the Urban Future – Joel Kotkin

I. The Big Picture for Global Geography

American Aspiration is Metropolitan – Ryan Streeter

The Urban Future: The Great Dispersion – Wendell Cox

The Future of the Big American City is Not Bright – Samuel J. Abrams

II. The Variety of Urban Experiences

The Future of Chinese Cities – Li Sun

Africa’s Urban Future – Hügo Krüger and Bheki Mahlobo

Recalibrating Expectations: Lessons from Youngstown, Ohio – Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo

Indianapolis – Aaron M. Renn

The Texas Triangle: An Emerging Metropolitan Model in the Lone Star State – J. H. Cullum Clark

The Evolution of New York City Politics – Harry Siegel

California’s Inland Empire: Harbinger of the New Multiracial Suburb – Celia López del Río and Karla López del Río

III. The Policy Agenda

Housing Unaffordability: How We Got There and What to Do About It – Tobias Peter and Edward J. Pinto

False Dawn: The Future of Work and Cities After the Illusions of Globalization – Michael Lind

A New Path for Black Urban Voters? – Charles Blain

Utah and Salt Lake City Policy Innovations in Homelessness, Poverty, and Health – Natalie Gochnour