The Final Words

Reading Analysis 5:

In the last chapter of the book City of Rhetoric, author David Fleming wraps up his final words ¬†by explaining what his overall point of this book is; to consider and better understand our metropolitan lives together as well as our civic responsibilities. He mentions1990’s urban poverty¬†and how it was lower because those years had an especially good economy as well as a liberal federal government and compares it to the first couple of years in the 2000’s. Rising unemployment rate, fewer individuals with health insurance, high rates of poverty, inadequate housing, and a harsh national government.

Housing projects were supposed to be way stations on the road to a better life, but they quickly became dead ends for most residents. Robert Taylor Homes was America’s largest public-housing project and evolved into an emblem of failure. (Chicago Tribune photo by Ovie Carter)

Our society isn’t perfect, but then again no one’s is. Fleming mentions how we lack public life and concrete places meaning there are some grey areas where citizens still feel separated and there is no middle ground. The ever changing political activity in our society is why there is an “impoverished, ‘middle-range'” (212) of public activity. There are connections that still need to be made whether it’s between a neighborhood and society, a city and the country.

Capitol Building, Washington D.C.
(photo from house

The solutions to these problems remain “individualistic and private” (212). Basically, the government is telling you you’re on your own. There are no publics that will help the people, so therefore there needs to be more private enterprise.

And in the end, all the public housing projects in Chicago were eventually torn down or failed. Areas like this remain racially and economically segregated, but not only in Chicago. All over the United States this problem remains constant and keeps growing because more suburbs keep developing. However David Fleming remains optimistic on this issue and the future because he understands that design counteracts economics and politics, hopes that people will understand we need to save our natural environment, and he is a teacher and feels obligated to be hopeful for his students.

Photo of writer David Fleming (photo from

Work Cited

Fleming, David. “City of Rhetoric” SUNY Press. 2009.


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