The North American continent appears to be entering a twilight of cities past anything Jane Jacobs could have foreseen. I don't see any reason to think that Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Memphis, New Orleans, Montreal or any of a hundred smaller American and Canadian cities will do anything other than fall further and further into complete decay; centers such as Boston, Portland and San Francisco are barely holding steady numbers; New York and Los Angeles face the challenges of decaying infrastructure and growing social disorder; cities in Mexico are arguably in even worse shape; and most Canadian and American cities with healthy growth are dependent on commodities economies (Houston, Calgary). Is Toronto, with diverse economic growth, social stability and riding an even-handed development wave, positioned to become the alpha city for the whole continent? (Before we get the chorus that New York is bigger, let me remind you that Sao Paulo is bigger than New York and no one, not even the Brazilians, would posit that it is more important for that reason alone.) Yes, the above is hyperbole to an extent. But it may be less and less so if the global economy goes into another slump.