By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Why small cities may hold the key to the future

There’s nothing quite listening in on a smart conversation by two old friends. In this week’s Boston Phoenix, Catherine Tumber talks with Jon Garelick about her new book, “Small, Gritty and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World.”

Cathy’s big idea is that down-on-their-luck cities like Lowell and Springfield may be due for a revival as economic and environmental constraints make urban living more appealing. And unlike major metropolises such as New York or Los Angeles — or Boston, for that matter — small cities have the capacity to develop their own self-sufficient ecosystems, including locally grown food.

The book is based on an essay Tumber wrote for the Boston Review in 2009 titled “Small, Green and Good.”

I read “Small, Gritty and Green” in galleys last spring, and I recommend it highly. Cathy also has given me invaluable advice for my own book-in-progress on the New Haven Independent and other community news sites, tentatively titled “The Wired City.”

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the book rec. However, the more I read the less I am a fan of the dream of local food sustainability. Our food network can stand much improvement, but we didn’t achieve worldwide food security until we set up networks to transport food over long distances- people literally starved to death by the millions when they were dependent on their local ecosystem.

    My book recs: 1493 by Charles Mann and Fresh by Susanne Freidberg

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