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The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy (Brookings Focus Book) Hardcover – June 17, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Metropolitan Revolution upends conventional wisdom and makes the case for how our cities and metros are leading American change and progress: they are transforming our national economy, political conversation, and collective destiny from the bottom up like never before. A must-read for anyone working toward a brighter future for our cities and our nation.” —Mayor Cory Booker

The Metropolitan Revolution builds on twenty years of studying metropolitan areas and hundreds of thousands of miles traveling to them around the globe, and the result is an exciting guide to the new world economy - urban, networked, innovative, collaborative, and driven by human potential.” —Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros

“Being mayor of Chicago is the best job I’ve ever had in public life. Katz and Bradley totally get it: the real power to change America lies in our cities and metros.” —Mayor Rahm Emanuel

 

“With paralysis in Washington, public policy solutions will come from successful metropolitan regions, the clinical trials of our future. We are well into this journey, but never has it been explained with such insight and analysis until The Metropolitan Revolution.” —Governor Jon Huntsman

“Just when ‘by the people, for the people’ seems like an anachronism, cities are giving it new meaning, fueled by twenty-first century technology. Every citizen needs to understand the metropolitan revolution. If we change cities, we change the country.” —Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America

“This book captures the energy and excitement bubbling up in cities across America. This is ‘do it yourself’ urbanism of the highest order, and it is altering our landscape and our country.” —Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation

“Through real-world examples, The Metropolitan Revolution brings to life how America's cities and suburbs drive innovation to solve problems and seize opportunities.  This book is a call to action beyond Washington, where metro leaders join together and simply get stuff done.” —Mayor Scott Smith

The Metropolitan Revolution is compelling reading on how our federal system is a powerful advantage in global competitiveness. This book is indispensable for business and elected leaders on realizing the economic potential of metropolitan areas for their citizens and the country.” —Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin

About the Author

Bruce J. Katz is a vice president at the Brookings Institution and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

Jennifer Bradley is a fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. She has written for The New Republic, the Atlantic Monthly, Democracy, and The American Prospect.

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Product Details

  • Series: Brookings Focus Book
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; 1 edition (June 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081572151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815721512
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book shows that we don't need to depend on a dysfunctional federal government (also, in most cases, state governments) to get done what is needed for our society and economy. The Federal approach - one size fits all - is an obvious failure, even without the parochial bickering, and the examples of cooperation within metropolitan areas is very refreshing.
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Format: Hardcover
I found Katz & Bradley's vision so compelling: civic, corporate, education, philathropic leaders in metro areas looking to each other to advance their regions, rather than looking to Washington; a smaller federal stance that is focused on supporting states and cities; understanding that the world is driven by a network of trading cities -- a new take on the old silk road. It's great move through an affirmative vision that's also grounded in the real world. I'm ready for the Revolution!

I also visited their website and was directed to the (free) iPad. Another great take on this compelling material.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most of the book is a description of various noble-sounding activities performed by various local governments (or in some cases, large local employers or foundations): for example, New York's subsidies to a large university to build a campus in the city, Denver's city/suburb cooperation in transportation, and a Houston nonprofit that educates immigrants and performs other good deeds throughout the Houston region. For a local official hunting for ideas, this might be a pretty useful book.

Having said that, I think the book's overall thesis (that cities will take the lead in creative policies) is a bit optimistic. City governments are just as broke as state governments- in fact, they may even be more fiscally constrained, because the state government has the right to deprive city governments of revenue in a wide variety of ways. For example, state officials (even Democrats) frequently whack away at cities' tax bases by telling cities how and how much they can tax. In addition, state governments tend to be especially biased against large central cities, because of our nation's tradition of poisonous suburban/urban rivalry and because of the power of the road lobby (which usually favors turning central cities into giant expressway ramps).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A remarkably apposite book in these difficult times. The common thread is cooperation among organizations (businesses, non-profits, local governments, etc) which once competed. Simply put, in today's economic environment, metropolitan areas can achieve far more through cooperation within themselves because then "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts". Another key conclusion is that solving the problems takes time - think 10, 15, 20 years or more.

The authors also make the valuable point that neither state governments nor the federal government are going to solve a particular area's problems. They may provide funding but little else.

This book is not a recipe for solving a specific area's problems but it provides a framework for developing a solution.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Well, I can only comment on the chapter on Portland, but judging by that chapter this is a factually and intellectually bankrupt book.
The biggest issue in the chapter on Portland is that Katz attributes the manufacturing success of the counties outside of Portland, to Portland. He places the Intel and Nike campuses in Portland, when they are twenty miles away in suburban and semi-rural areas, in different municipalities and different counties far from the fairy dust of the city of Portland. His whole theory (cute cities drive growth) is wrong in Oregon, because our big companies avoid Portland like the plague and stay in the 'burbs. Nike turned down huge bribes to move to Portland, preferring nice, normal Beaverton.

Recent data re; Oregon exports flat since 2008 suggests that Katz has his theory backwards, but don't expect intellectual honesty. I wrote to the Atlantic and to Katz himself with a detailled list of factual mistakes, but facts aren't important to some folks

Back in the day, academics were disciplined for sloppy scholarship. Katz gets to jet around the country, being paid by the same mayors he flatters. Someone needs to call him on it.
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Format: Hardcover
The Metropolitan Revolution has come out at the same time as The End of the Suburbs, Walkable City, and Cities are Good For You. We're in a season where I bet we'll see a lot of books on this topic, where a city-loving philosopher will try to convince us of what we've already accepted; city-living is great for your health.

There used to be three kinds of community in the USA, and they were as follows; the city, the small town, and the farm. The town of Macomb, Alabama (from To Kill a Mockingbird) is a good example; the center of town has all the stores and the courthouse, and the houses radiate from it, followed by the farms. As for cities, we had the center of town, surrounded by the residential area. But there were no suburbs in the 1930's, because people didn't all own cars, and banks weren't giving loans en masse. What's the use of building a bedroom community if there's no money to buy the houses and no way to get there?
Today it's the reverse. The suburbs are there, but nobody wants to live there. In The End of the Suburbs the author blames it on four things; delayed marriage, less desire for cars, higher gas prices, and inability to get a mortgage. But if this is true, why are New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco doing so well while others, like Youngstown, are not? The answer is both in the economics and the city's government. The Metropolitan Revolution blames Youngstown's trouble on "elites" who used to run them. When the "elites" left, no strong leader came in to fill the vacuum, and the cities were left politically fractured. The various districts or wards can't agree on what to do.

The only light at the end of the tunnel appears to be non-profits and tech entrepreneurs.
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