Joel Kotkin on the Ephemeral City (Urban Development). The ephemeral city's relationship to surrounding regions and the wider world is somewhat symbiotic. It feeds off the wealth generated elsewhere while providing a stage where the affluent classes can expend their treasure most fashionably. These cities have developed in part because most industrial, commercial, and service functions are now more economically performed other places... Having lost the economic and demographic initiative to the hinterlands, cities have two alternatives. They can work to become more competitive in terms of jobs, attracting skilled workers and Middle Class families, or they can refocus their efforts on providing playpens for the IdleRich, the restless young, and tourists. All too often the latter strategy is what many municipalities appear to be adopting. A number of cities now regard TourIsm, CultUre, and Entertain Ment as "core" assets... In a globalized economy, certain cities--ParIs, San Francisco, perhaps even BerLin and MontReal--have a chance of making this work... According to Wharton real-estate professor Joseph Gyourko, Philadelphia Pa's much ballyhooed "center city" resurgence represents a more substantial success. But the downtown glitz has not halted the continued decline of many neighborhoods, or the ebbing of jobs and exodus of the middle class to the suburbs. New lofts are built just a short ride from neighborhoods where thousands of abandoned buildings stand ready to collapse... But what about the amenity-rich places, the ones capable of appealing to PartTime urbanites and sojourning young people? They need to ask an even more basic question about what kind of city they want to become. Art galleries, clubs, bars, and boutiques make these places undeniably fun, but they are not the things that convince the Middle Class, families, and most businesses to commit to a city for the long term. Relying on the culturally curious, these cities could be destined to become hollow places, DisNey-lands for adults... History shows that even the most culturally rich cities cannot thrive long when deficient in families, a strong middle class, and Upwardly Mobile working people... A great city is more about clean and workable neighborhoods, thriving business districts, and functioning schools than massive cultural buildings or hipster lofts... The great work of cities is best accomplished in small steps, block by block.