Small Gritty And Green Summary

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In her book Small, Gritty, and Green, Catherine Tumber travels to 25 smaller industrial cities across the midwest and northeasten United States to discover how these cities might emerge as models of urban resilience and sustainability. By smaller industrial cities, Tumber is referring to cities “that at their peak in, generally, 1950, had populations of roughly 50,000 to 500,000 souls, and whose numbers today have dropped by at least 20 percent.” This includes cities such as Syracuse, New York, Flint, Michigan, and Muncie, Indiana. And while these cities are rarely mentioned by urban thinkers and planners, it is precisely those qualities that have left them unnoticed—their small sizes, their devestated industrial centers, and their dense but decaying built environments—that provide these cities with the basis for a greener, more sustainable future. Tumber’s claim – that “smaller industrial cities […] could have a bright future if they prepare now for a low-carbon world” – is based on her convictions that a) we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels, and b) our long-term environmental well-being depends on dramatically altering modern land use patterns by concentrating population in cities and inhibiting…show more content…
However, the style does not help the often disconnected stories to blend or to create one idea strand that runs through them all in a more concrete way. Examples of this can be found in the introduction of the interviewees, which are often overly descriptive and innapropriate, such as her decription of Dan Kildee, the founder of the Genesee County Land Bank: “a tall, teddy bear– like man who often gives in to the temptation to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.” These kind of descriptions take away from the legitimacy of Tumber’s argument and can cause the reader to doubt some of her

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