Episode 2

Revolt, Retreat and Return

Following often destructive urban renewal programs of the 1950s and 1960s, citizens began pushing back, blocking many projects from proceeding and re-shaping the outcome of others.

By the 1970s and 1980s, many cities were in freefall due to population loss, disinvestment and fiscal failure all contributing to the then “urban crisis.”

After the 1980s real estate boom reshaped skylines across the continent and the 1990s saw media portraying cities in a more positive way, downtowns became more desirable around the dawn of the new millennium leading up to the challenges we still face today.

Standing Up

We peer inside protests against the loss of community in our three focus cities and see how new ideas were beginning to take hold that mirrored resistance efforts nationwide.

  • Progressive Ideals: Philadelphia

  • Preservation Crusaders: Pittsburgh

  • A New Downtown: Los Angeles

Bottoms Up

Many cities were desperately seeking solutions to their dire straits in the 1970s and 1980s.

  • Bankrupt: Philadelphia

  • Lights Out: Pittsburgh

  • Decentralized: Los Angeles

Looking Up

Helped by changing demographics, workplaces and media portrayals, cities staged a comeback around the turn of the 20th century but daunting challenges remain.

  • Clean and Safe: Philadelphia

  • Reinvention: Pittsburgh

  • I Found A Heart: Los Angeles

  • Progressive Ideals: Philadelphia
  • Preservation Crusaders: Pittsburgh
  • A New Downtown: Los Angeles
  • Bankrupt: Philadelphia
  • Lights Out: Pittsburgh
  • Decentralized: Los Angeles
  • Clean and Safe: Philadelphia
  • Reinvention: Pittsburgh
  • I Found A Heart: Los Angeles