The Public Interest

The urban unease: community vs. city

James Q. Wilson

Summer 1968

ONE of the benefits (if that is the word) of the mounting concern over “the urban crisis” has been the emergence, for perhaps the first time since the subject became popular, of a conception of what this crisis really means, from the point of view of the urban citizen. After a decade or more of being told by various leaders that whats wrong with our large cities is inadequate transportation, or declining retail sales, or poor housing, the resident of the big city, black and white alike, is beginning to assert his own definition of that problem—and this definition has very little relationship to the conventional wisdom on the urban crisis.

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