The Public Interest

How to save our shrinking cities

Peter D. Linneman & Witold Rybczynski

Spring 1999

THE first half of the twentieth century saw the widespread emergence of large cities in the United States. In 1900, there were only six cities with more than half a million inhabitants; only 50 years later, there were 17 such cities. Much of this urban growth was stimulated by two world wars and the government-supported expansion of war-related industries, most located in big Northeastern and Midwestern cities. The largest cities also benefited from the fact that for more than a decade after the Second World War the United States was the only country in the world with its manufacturing facilities intact.

Download a PDF of the full article.



from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.