Key Points:

  • Stephen Goldsmith is a member of a group of mayors who, in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, applied what has been dubbed a ‘new urban paradigm’ in order to arrest the decay that had manifested itself in many American cities.
  • The mayors took office with a specific mission: to reverse the negative urban trends that had begun in the 1960s, and worsened further during the 1970s and early 1980s.
  • The recent history of American cities underline the fact that urban areas are not ‘natural’ environments. They are environments built by humans according to their formulated policies.
  • Poorly functioning urban environments are usually due to the unexpected outcomes of well-intentioned or mistaken policies of the past that were based on incorrect understandings or inadequate theories, or have simply been overtaken by events.
  • Goldsmith argues that no amount of government support will save cities, without the support of active neighbourhood-based organisations, vibrant communities of faith and strong families.

Press release: Creating urban citizens