The Urban Experience provides a fresh approach to the study of metropolitan areas by combining economic principles, social insight, and political realities with an appreciation of public policy to understand how U.S. cities and suburbs function in the 21st century. The book is grounded in thereal life experiences of students and their families on the premise that there is a fascination about one's own surroundings. It uses a great deal of historical and comparative data to explore the wide variation in how we experience urban and suburban communities. It addresses the changing role andfunction of U.S. metropolitan areas in an age of growing global competition and focuses on key contemporary problems facing cities and suburbs. The book introduces analyses from economics, sociology, and political science as useful tools to understand the evolution and current status of the nation'surban areas. It is the hope of the authors that after students have taken a one-semester course using this text they will have a much greater appreciation and understanding of cities and suburbs, allowing them to participate more fully in the communities where they work and live.