Prophetic City: Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America

Avid Reader: S. & S. Jun. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781501177910. $28. SOC SCI
Sociologist Klineberg (founding director, Kinder Inst. for Urban Research, Rice Univ.) gives a fascinating portrait of Houston in this debut. He begins with the misconceptions of Houston—an ugly, boring city that is too big for its own good. Klineberg offers a different message about the city as a purveyor of America’s future, using a four-decade study to analyze how the demographics have shifted over the years, along with the varied opportunities and challenges that have occurred as a result. According to Klineberg, the city’s large wealth gap is one of the significant threats to society, as it determines who lives in an environment that is more like to succeed, or who is more likely to experience hardship. This disparity is evident from the gaps between West Houston and East Houston. Education levels are exasperated by this wealth gap, which also leads to perception of governmental benefits. The author believes that diversity is Houston’s biggest asset because it offers new perspectives and allows the city a chance to become an inclusive community and metropolitan area. In his words, these are lessons that the rest of the country can learn from.
VERDICT A must-read, highly recommended sociological perspective of America’s future.

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