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Since the 1960s, many scholars with an interest in urban affairs have chimed in with important research works that examine what one legendary professor referred to as the "unheavenly city" and its problems. In this paper (presented as part of The Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy research group), Professor Arthur C. Nelson of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University turns his attention to the question of how the built environment of the urban areas of the United States might be reinvigorated during the coming quarter century. The 51-page paper contains a number of interesting findings, such as that by 2030 about half of the buildings in which Americans live, work, and shop will have been built after 2000. Other aspects of the report are not as surprising, such as the comment that a preponderance of this new growth will occur in the South and the West. Professor Nelson concludes the report by asking a rather pressing question: "Should we maintain the status quo in terms of development patterns, or can we envision a different pattern of growth?".
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