Two Models of the Urban Crisis

An Analytical Essay on Banfield and Forrester

by Harvey A. Averch, Robert A. Levine


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This essay examines the arguments and evidence used in two recent models of the urban Edward C. Banfield's The Unheavenly City and Jay W. Forrester's Urban Dynamics. Although Banfield's model is sociological and Forrester's is economic and physical, both imply that much can be done to alleviate urban problems and that positive programs may make them worse. The authors of this critique contend that the articulation of argument and evidence inadequate to support the implication. They advocate that promising current programs be on the basis of evidence and experience and that policymakers continue to search for efficient programs through social experiments.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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