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Governing the Twin Cities Region

Governing the Twin Cities Region: The Metropolitan Council in Comparative Perspective

John J. Harrigan
William C. Johnson
Copyright Date: 1978
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 180
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  • Book Info
    Governing the Twin Cities Region
    Book Description:

    Governing the Twin Cities Region was first published in 1978. This account of the development and analysis of the current powers and policies of the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul is particularly useful as a text for courses in urban politics and state and local government. It is valuable also for urban specialists in public and private agencies across the country and of interest to concerned citizens, especially in the Twin Cities and Upper Midwest region. The authors compare the Twin Cities’ experience in metropolitan reform with that of other regions, discuss in detail the policy-making process, the substance of the policies, and the politics of implementation, and and evaluate the accomplishments of the Council.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6280-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-vi)
    John J. Harrigan and William C. Johnson
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. CHAPTER 1 The Hope and Reality of Metropolitan Reform
    (pp. 3-21)

    Governing a large metropolitan area is surely one of the more complex political problems facing a society. The typical metropolitan area in the United States is an intricate patchwork of community identities, governing institutions, and service systems. Lacking any central political authority, the region resists efforts to establish one—impressive testimony to the strength of the localist tradition in American politics. And metropolitan reform in such communities, when it has occurred, has often been at the initiative of the federal government, using its dollars as an incentive to get the local citizenry to do what it previously was unable or...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Origin and Evolution of the Metropolitan Council
    (pp. 22-38)

    How did such an apparently ordinary metropolitan area produce so unique an institution as the Metropolitan Council? This question will be examined from several perspectives in this chapter. First, there are several political conditions in the region and in the state of Minnesota as a whole that are not so “ordinary” in their combination. These can be viewed as influential background factors in the Council’s creation and growth. Second, a “metropolitan consciousness” had been slowly growing for forty years before the creation of the Council, and that consciousness did much to prepare the way for the Council. Third, the legislative...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Metropolitan Council Today
    (pp. 39-64)

    Despite the many incremental changes made by the Legislature over ten years, the Metropolitan Council remains what it was intended to be: a planning and policy-making agency for guiding the physical and social development of the region and delivering regional public services. It does not directly provide services or control land use. The impact that its actions have is conveyed by the other 272 units of local government in the region, whose existence has not been affected by the Council’s emergence (except for the metropolitan agencies, to be described later). Yet, in matters of defined metropolitan impact, the Council can...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Physical Development Policies
    (pp. 65-86)

    As noted in earlier chapters, Minnesota has opted for a metropolitan public-service system that separates policy making from the actual delivery of services. As the central policy-making agency, the Metropolitan Council establishes the policies through theMetropolitan Development Guide. As of mid-1977, thirteen chapters of theDevelopment Guidehave been adopted.

    Although theMetropolitan Development Guideconstitutes the central compendium of metropolitan policies, three characteristics of metropolitan policies make it hard for the average citizen to read individualGuidechapters and obtain a clear idea of what is actually taking place. First, there is a confusing combination of specific policies...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Improving the Quality of Life
    (pp. 87-111)

    In the preceding chapter we analyzed Metropolitan Council policies for controlling the physical growth of the metropolis. In this chapter we examine policies for improving the quality of life. These are not mutually exclusive categories; the quality of life in the Twin Cities metropolitan area depends in great measure on the success of the policies discussed here—those for environmental protection and those dealing with social problems.

    The Metropolitan Council has devoted considerable attention to developing policies to protect and improve the overall natural environment of the seven-county region. In fact, the major force leading to the creation of the...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Evaluation and Prospects
    (pp. 112-148)

    For over a decade the system of metropolitan governance in the Twin Cities has steadily evolved. The Metropolitan Council was created in 1967 as a unique regional institution—neither a general-purpose government nor just a COG. As it faced a series of successive crises and bitter political conflicts over sewers, airports, transit, and land use, its powers were increased by the Minnesota Legislature. It used this growing authority to establish metropolitan-level policies for a wide variety of public problems. And to carry out these policies, it has been given an impressive array of implementation tools.

    What has all this activity...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 151-158)
  12. Index
    (pp. 161-167)