The Metropolitan Revolution

The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Metropolitan Revolution
    Book Description:

    Across the US, cities and metropolitan areas are facing huge economic and competitive challenges that Washington won't, or can't, solve.� The good news is that networks of metropolitan leaders - mayors, business and labor leaders, educators, and philanthropists - are stepping up and powering the nation forward. These state and local leaders are doing the hard work to grow more jobs and make their communities more prosperous, and they're investing in infrastructure, making manufacturing a priority, and equipping workers with the skills they need.

    InThe Metropolitan Revolution,Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley highlight success stories and the people behind them.

    ·New York City: Efforts are under way to diversify the city's vast economy

    ·Portland: Is selling the� "sustainability" solutions it has perfected to other cities around the world

    ·Northeast Ohio: Groups are�using industrial-age skills to invent new twenty-first-century materials, tools, and processes

    ·Houston: Modern settlement house helps immigrants climb the employment ladder

    ·Miami: Innovators are forging strong ties with Brazil and other nations

    ·Denver and Los Angeles: Leaders are breaking political barriers and building world-class metropolises

    ·Boston and Detroit: Innovation districts are hatching ideas to power these economies for the next century

    The lessons in this book can help other cities meet their challenges. Change is happening, and every community in the country can benefit. Change happens where we live, and if leaders won't do it, citizens should demand it.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2152-9
    Subjects: Business, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    Judith Rodin

    How does one measure a city? By the buildings that fill its skyline? By the efficiency of its rapid transit? Or, perhaps, by what Jane Jacobs called the “sidewalk ballet” of a busy street?

    Certainly these are the memorable hallmarks of any modern city or metropolitan area. But a city’s true measure goes beyond human-made structures and lies deeper than daily routine. Rather, cities and metro areas are defined by the quality of the ideas they generate, the innovations they spur, and the opportunities they create for people living within and outside the city limits.

    These are the elements that...

    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. 1-14)

    A revolution is stirring in America. Like all great revolutions, this one starts with a simple but profound truth: Cities and metropolitan areas are the engines of economic prosperity and social transformation in the United States.

    Our nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas sit on only 12 percent of the nation’s land mass but are home to two-thirds of our population and generate 75 percent of our national GDP. Metros dominate because they embody concentration and agglomeration—networks of innovative firms, talented workers, risk-taking entrepreneurs, and supportive institutions and associations that cluster together in metropolitan areas and coproduce economic performance and...

  6. PART I. The Living Laboratory:: The Metropolitan Revolution Today

      (pp. 17-40)

      In January 2009 the shock of the Lehman Brothers implosion had only just started to reverberate through the global economy. Over the course of the year, global economic activity would shrink by half a percent—the worst downturn since 1945.¹ By the end of the year, 7 million Americans had lost their jobs, and an additional 8.8 million were involuntarily working part-time. The unemployment rate had reached 10 percent nationwide.

      New York’s large financial sector made the city uniquely vulnerable to the fortunes of the industry where the crisis began. The collapse of Lehman Brothers was a watershed moment for...

      (pp. 41-63)

      In a 1940 essay, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. describes a “headlong rush into the cities” in the early decades of the twentieth century. Between 1900 and 1930, America’s city population grew at more than three times the rate of the rural population, with the result that America became an urban nation: the 1930 census revealed that for the first time, more than half the population lived in cities. But the neat division between rural and urban did not tell the whole story: “In reality, urban preponderance was bigger than [Census Bureau] figures indicate, thanks to the rise of...

      (pp. 64-87)

      At the beginning of 2009, a new catch phrase seemed to be everywhere: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”¹ Some crises, such as the collapse of a major New York–based global investment bank, hit hard and fast, and they galvanize an immediate response. In many ways, the slow crises that don’t make an economy implode dramatically but that steadily, insidiously drain its vitality are more difficult to address. During the 1990s, Northeast Ohio faced just such a slow decline—and because it was slow, it remained invisible for years. Northeast Ohio’s crisis was, in fact,...

      (pp. 88-110)

      As recently as the 1940s, the Gulfton neighborhood in the southwest corner of Houston was not really a neighborhood at all but mostly farmland. Today, Gulfton is the most densely populated neighborhood in the city of Houston. That breakneck pace of change is emblematic of the larger Houston region, which is a perpetual boomtown. (For each of the past four decades, the Houston metropolis has gained residents at a rate that is at least twice as fast, sometimes three or four times as fast, as the nation as a whole.) In the 1950s, Gulfton’s farms started to give way to...

  7. PART II. The Future of the Metropolitan Revolution:: Ushering In the Metro Age

      (pp. 113-143)

      The American metropolitan revolution, although nascent and evolving, is already inventing new models of economic development (as seen in the Applied Sciences initiative), new approaches to social integration (Neighborhood Centers), and new levels of collaboration (as in Northeast Ohio and Denver). Earlier chapters focused on the revolution as is: how city and metropolitan networks are stepping up in the absence of federal leadership to grapple with the big challenges before the country. This chapter and the next focus on the revolution to be: how megatrends will drive cities and metros to reshape their physical and social landscape within as well...

      (pp. 144-170)

      The metropolitan revolution described in this book is of domestic origin and, to date, primarily domestic focus. Yet its future is relentlessly global. The Great Recession unveiled the limitations of an inward-looking domestic economy driven by home building, shopping, and excessive debt. The down-turn coincided with the culmination of a structural shift in the global economic order, exemplified when Brazil, India, and China surpassed the United States’ economy as a share of the global gross domestic product in 2010. With American consumers overextended and middle classes rising abroad, there is now an imperative for the United States to trade and...

      (pp. 171-191)

      With talk of revolution in the air, the impulse at this point in the book might be to call on metropolitan revolutionaries to use their talents and energies to realize the full potential of their communities, leaving behind the dysfunctional federal and uneven state governments. Sometimes, metro leaders act on that impulse, stating boldly that they can get stuff done themselves, without any help from higher powers. But it’s not that simple.

      Cities and metropolitan areas constitute the engines of the national economy and our centers of trade and investment. They deliver and help finance the public goods in our...

      (pp. 192-208)

      What would a true metropolitan revolution look like? Imagine if metros pursued their own revolutions—stepping up, setting ambitious goals, making distinctive bets, and acting with deliberation, purpose, and conviction. They could unleash their economies. They could reshape their places. They could expand opportunities. They could instill an infectious sense of confidence. They could become, in short, the best twenty-first-century version of themselves.

      Imagine, for example, if every metropolis had a friendly competition over the scope and ambition of innovation districts. Metros would become test beds for addressing some of society’s toughest challenges: how to create low-carbon or even no-carbon...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 209-244)
    (pp. 245-250)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 251-258)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-259)