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The mill towns round our neck

A think tank report has been attacked for its scepticism about urban regeneration. But it is right

By Edward Glaeser   September 2008

Edward Glaeser is taking part in the Manchester Independent Economic Review this September-November

We urban policy scholars are usually thrilled when someone, anyone, reads our stuff. Like greying veterans of Woodstock and Haight-Ashbury, many urbanists look back nostalgically at the 1960s, not out of any particular fondness for Janis Joplin, but because in those years, scholars of cities, like Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jane Jacobs and Edward Banfield, made headlines and influenced policy. I am therefore thrilled at the media carnival unleashed by the think tank Policy Exchange’s report “Cities Unlimited.”

The report was controversial because it suggested that the urban…

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