Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, And The Fate Of The American Metropolis by Andrew R. HighsmithDemolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, And The Fate Of The American Metropolis by Andrew R. Highsmith

Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, And The Fate Of The American Metropolis

byAndrew R. Highsmith

Paperback | December 30, 2016

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In 1997, after General Motors shuttered a massive complex of factories in the gritty industrial city of Flint, Michigan, signs were placed around the empty facility reading, “Demolition Means Progress,” suggesting that the struggling metropolis could not move forward to greatness until the old plants met the wrecking ball. Much more than a trite corporate slogan, the phrase encapsulates the operating ethos of the nation’s metropolitan leadership from at least the 1930s to the present. Throughout, the leaders of Flint and other municipalities repeatedly tried to revitalize their communities by demolishing outdated and inefficient structures and institutions and overseeing numerous urban renewal campaigns—many of which yielded only more impoverished and more divided metropolises. After decades of these efforts, the dawn of the twenty-first century found Flint one of the most racially segregated and economically polarized metropolitan areas in the nation.

In one of the most comprehensive works yet written on the history of inequality and metropolitan development in modern America, Andrew R. Highsmith uses the case of Flint to explain how the perennial quest for urban renewal—even more than white flight, corporate abandonment, and other forces—contributed to mass suburbanization, racial and economic division, deindustrialization, and political fragmentation. Challenging much of the conventional wisdom about structural inequality and the roots of the nation’s “urban crisis,” Demolition Means Progress shows in vivid detail how public policies and programs designed to revitalize the Flint area ultimately led to the hardening of social divisions.
Andrew R. Highsmith is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.
Title:Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, And The Fate Of The American MetropolisFormat:PaperbackDimensions:398 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:December 30, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022641955X

ISBN - 13:9780226419558

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations

Part I      Company Town

1 City Building and Boundary Making
2  From Community Education to Neighborhood Schools
3 Jim Crow, GM Crow
4 Suburban Renewal
5 The Metropolitan Moment

Part II    Fractured Metropolis

6 “Our City Believes in Lily-White Neighborhoods”
7 Jim Crow in the Era of Civil Rights
8 Suburban Crisis
9 The Battle over School Desegregation
10 “The Fall of Flint”

Epilogue “America Is a Thousand Flints”
Abbreviations in the Notes

Editorial Reviews

“The economic crises of the ensuing decades—in their utter devastation—seem almost the end of urban history. It is one signal contribution of Demolition Means Progress, though, that we might see that history as a tortuous path of missed opportunities and bold, though often shortsighted, attempts at revitalization. It is another that the book ends with a timely reminder that Flint is not dead, as residents and civic leaders continue their quest for revitalization, even behind dauntingly fortified walls of racial segregation and inequality.”