Where are we? -- Mansfield, Ohio--Getting off the big project merry-go-round -- The mess we have made -- Project planning or urban husbandry--The choice -- Transportation and place: Death and rebirth of the public realm -- Rebuilding place, valuing transit -- Undoing sprawl -- Big, little, and predator: Free competition or no competition? -- You don't have to be Wal-Mart to be Wal-Mart -- To market, to market -- Downtown essentials: Public buildings, public policies -- Back to basics -- Investing in people -- It's happening: The SoHo syndrome -- Conclusion -- Index. After decades of decline and decay, scores of downtowns in urban America are coming to life once again. Others continue to languish despite massive public investment. In Cities Back from the Edge, Roberta Brandes Gratz teams up with Main Street expert Norman Mintz to tell us why. Based on their firsthand observations of downtown change throughout the country, this book is filled with stories of urban recovery from Mansfield, Ohio to Los Angeles, from Pasco, Washington to SoHo. Throughout this book the authors address the key issues facing the nation's cities and towns today, including transportation planning and sprawl containment, the threat of big-box superstore retailers, and the preservation of the essential downtown components necessary to anchor a thriving, vibrant community. Gratz and Mintz show us that rebuilding authentic places, reconnecting communities, and stimulating innovative change are within everyone's reach. With proven ideas on how to correct the mistakes of the past several decades, this book offers new hope that our cities will not merely be rebuilt - but reborn.