Revitalizing our Cities or Restoring Ties to Them? Redirecting the Debate

In this Article, I generally concur that certain legal reforms do hold considerable potential for ameliorating some of the desperate circumstances we find in our cities today. My view is rooted in the recognition that past reforms which dismantled legal barriers to equal opportunity were of monumental significance in broadening social and economic access to our urban arrangements. But it also is rooted in the conviction that a new wave of legal reform might well be required in order to reconsider other past reforms that, however unintentionally, have made many matters worse. Above all, any proposed legal reform should be decoupled from the notion that achieving broad social gains requires that we must somehow first restore a general vitality to our cities. I suggest that our cities continue to show remarkable vitality. Instead, what does need revitalization are the prospects that individuals who were left behind by a transforming economy or held back by personal circumstances wherever they may live-can have greater access to the opportunities which our evolving economic and settlement arrangements offer-wherever they may be.