The Public Interest

On “opening up” the suburbs

Nathan Glazer

Fall 1974

WE are living through what seems to be a low point of interest in the “crisis of the cities.” There are no longer any major television documentaries. The economic crisis of the cities, after a modest abatement owing to the decline in the number of schoolchildren, is now upon us again, but this time it seems to be part of the general problem of inflation. We have learned to live with high rates of crime, against persons and property; they are apparently not going higher, owing-one assumes-to the fact that the number of teenagers is now increasing very slowly. (Or perhaps to the greater efficiency of the police? Or perhaps because crime rates had gone as high as they could go?) The low rates of academic achievement in the central city schools are not going any lower. (Perhaps they had gone as low as they could go?) There are no longer major riots by inner-city blacks.

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