Cities in the Southern United States have experienced dynamic economic and population growth over the past half-century, challenging existing paradigms of urban form, race relations, social movements, and immigration. This review shows how the timing of Southern urbanization—much later than in the Northeast and Midwest—has contributed to Southern cities' distinctive spatial patterns and political and economic structures. Southern cities were crucial to regional transformation, including the Civil Rights Movement and the end of one-party rule in the South. Moreover, Southern cities exemplify key trends of the contemporary political economy: a new relationship to regional industrialization, new forms of entrepreneurial governance, flexible labor markets, the importance of finance and producer services, and “new destination” immigration. I conclude by examining two Southern cities for their relevance to central themes in contemporary social research: Atlanta for the study of the African American experience and New Orleans for the sociology of catastrophe.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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