William Goldsmith: Saving Our Cities: Austerity, Schools, Food, Drugs

book cover of Saving Our Cities by William Goldsmith

The cover of Bill Goldsmith's new book, Saving Our Cities, A Progressive Plan to Transform Urban America (Cornell University Press, 2016).

Bill Goldsmith was a member of the planning faculty at Cornell University from 1967 until 2012. He has published widely in scholarly journals on U.S. cities, segregation, and poverty, and also on international urbanization and regional development. His 2016 book, Saving Our Cities: A Progressive Plan to Transform Urban America won an honorable mention for the John Friedmann Book Prize from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ASCP). His coauthored book Separate Societies: Poverty and Inequality in U.S. Cities won the Paul Davidoff Prize from the ACSP in 1993; the second edition, in 2010, has a foreword by President Clinton. He coedited Urban and Regional Planning in an Age of Austerity in 1980.


In a discussion of his new book, Saving Our Cities, Goldsmith will argue that the time is right for U.S. cities (and city planners) to push for more enlightened state and federal action. Now, after the Trump election, progressive city movements are even more important, and Goldsmith suspects there are many European parallels. In Saving Our Cities, he argues that the most important U.S. 'urban' policies are those that are not actually regarded as 'urban' at all. There is a need to fight against 'upstream' policies that disproportionately harm urban areas. Goldsmith will focus on federal and state decisions — often in support of corporate goals — that harm city residents by promoting austerity, unequal schools, bad food, and the drug war. He will also offer illustrations of successful local changes.

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