Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Social problems related to industrialization, immigration, criminality, and poverty were initially perceived as problems of the city in its entirety and were later associated more with the inner city. With the rapid post-World War II expansion of a distinctive suburban realm, the concept of “inner city” achieved wide currency. The identification of the inner city with social problems is a primarily North American phenomenon, even if exported to other settings such as Great Britain. The inner city was perceived as the converse of the suburbs. Thus suburbs were clean, safe, modern, and mainstream middle class, but the inner city supposedly was dirty, dangerous, outdated, poor, and inhabited by minorities. Indeed, the inner city most often served as a backdrop for film noir. Clearly, depicting the inner city as a homogeneous entity overtaken by social problems was a gross oversimplification. In most metropolitan regions, the inner city was a complex entity, ...