Oriana Schwindt joins City Journal contributing editor Aaron Renn to discuss Schwindt's seven-month-long journey to municipalities near the geographic center of every U.S. state, and what she found there: the curious "sameness" of American cities. Schwindt chronicled her travels in a recent article for New York.
In gentrifying neighborhoods across the country, visitors are practically guaranteed to find high-end bars with expensive cocktails, coffee shops with tattooed and bespectacled baristas, new luxury housing in all-glass buildings, and maybe an Asian-fusion restaurant. "The reason so many of these joints feel harvested from Brooklyn," Schwindt writes, "is because they are."
While urban aesthetics are important, coffee shops and micro-breweries are no replacement for serious infrastructure investment and economic development.