Some city dwellers still remember porch-sitting and leisurely walks to the corner store for ice cream. That was before TVs and freezers drew people inside behind locked doors. Children walked to school, and afterwards they worked at local jobs or played in neighborhood streets or vacant lots. They were not yet bused to schools that keep them off the street until six o’clock, nor vanned to Little League and soccer games. Some parishes remember their own roles in the ambience of those neighborhoods.
Douglas Rae, a teacher of management and political science at Yale, who served as chief administrative officer for the first African-American mayor of New Haven, has written a book to stir old memories, but also to jar current assumptions of what it takes to make cities work.