7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2013
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.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
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.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
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).
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2013
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.
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2013
I saw the authors last night with Cory Booker, and picked up the book. Have only gotten through the first chapter and a half, but if the book is as good as the first chapter and their program last night they can sign me up to join the revolution!
on October 24, 2013
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. Dallas has lot of non-profit health clinics and daycare (so far so good) while in Detroit, farmers are taking over empty land. Ohio's "Rust Belt" towns have technology startups moving into empty buildings. It's ironic, given that a lot of empty suburbs were once built around technology; the IBM plant in New York State used to be an anchor business, and the GE plant on Pittsfield provided employment for the community. When the plants closed, the communities got lousy. As for Detroit, it's been going on for over 20 years.
In Walkable City, the author cites Atlanta as a city in need of bikes (another urban issue.) It has terrible health, terrible car fumes, and every obesity-related disease in America. There are massive eight-lane roads lined with low-income apartments, but with no sidewalks, and a two-mile distance between traffic lights. Now how do you expect people to live when they can't walk to the store? The answer is simple; reduce the road by one lane, replace it with a sidewalk and bike lane, and put in more traffic lights. But that's not going to happen until the city's "bosses" get their act together.
As the authors make clear, fractured cities don't get much done. Perhaps Atlanta will become the next city to reduce car traffic?
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2013
This book provides an excellent description of economic problems facing many urban areas. It provide descriptions of how some cities overcame their economic challenges and are now growing economically.
The following are notes for public policy, urban studies, and city planning students:
The 100 most populous metropolitan areas have two thirds the nation's population producing three quarters of our Gross Domestic Product on 12% of the nation's land.
Metropolitan areas have faster population growth, and with an increasingly diverse population as well as a more aging population, than other areas.
The U.S. economy is experience increased exports, critical innovations plus production of resulting inventions as well as seeing decreasing waste.
Cities will grow according to the reactions to their own actions. Unlike the past, the Federal government is not providing massive funding assistance to cities. Further, most state governments, facing their own budget difficulties that limit their ability to help, are not helping cities as they used to.
Cities are improving by upgrading their downtowns and waterfronts, engaging in historic preservation, improving ass transit, and having interesting architecture. There is a new urban drive for enticing advanced industries to locate in their cities. This industries have create stronger infrastructure, hire human capital, and improve areas when their economic innovations create further growth. Economic growth is driving city renewals. Cities are adapting to the the needs of a global economy which demands technological innovations by creating the means to allow these entities to exist and grow.
Cities are taking actions to guide their economic progress by investing in areas that create jobs and wealth. Some find areas that create global network exchanges of goods and services as well as investments, ideas, and labor. These investors seek the large supply of residents that cities provide that lead to economic gains which in turns makes cities socially stronger.
New York City lost 6,000 jobs and $2 billion in city tax revenues during their August 2008 to November 2009 crisis that was focused on their declining financial sector. Another $1.4 billion in city tax revenues was lost the following year. This was a primary cause of the city government laying off 139,000 city government workers, which contributed further to the economic crisis.
A non-profit organization, the New York City Economic Development Corp (NYCEDC) argued that New York could rebound economically with some innovative actions. NYCEDC staff met with 325 CEOs, 25 community group leaders, and university Presidents and Deans. They discovered there was a general agreement that New York'e economic future was in science, technological innovations, exports, sustainable energy, and new energy sources.
It was then determined that New York City was already strong in biotechnological research. It was also observed it lacked engineers. Boston and San Francisco were increasing investments into their engineering schools and on engineering research and development which was successfully attracting engineering students and engineering firms.
The New York Mayor's office created a one year contest to universities to create a new city campus. The city government would provide $100 million in infrastructure and investments. The winner, Cornell and Technican - Israel Institute of Technology were awarded a campus on Roosevelt Island. The school is named Cornell - NYC Tech which should soon have 280 faculty and 2,750 graduate students.
The Mayor's Office also decided there could be more than one contest winner. New York University is creating the Center for Urban Science and Progress in downtown Brooklyn with a $15 million in city funds or abatements. The Center will work with industry partners.
Columbia University responded by enlarging its engineering school. NYU and Brooklyn Polytech merged o increase the applied sciences offerings.
Economic studies found that each high tech job created leads to additional professional and non-professional jobs. Investing in technology fuels job creation and economic growth.
The infrastructure improvements that lure high tech jobs improves the lives of all. This brings in more retail, services, and financial entities taking advantage of improving neighborhoods and increasing population. This, in turn fuels further economic growth.
The U.S. was a majority rural country until urban population rose three times faster than rural population growth from around 1900 until the 1930 Census found half of U.S. residents lived in cities. The U.S. has been majority urban ever since.
Denver voters in 2004 agreed to tax themselves more to use the funds to support their museums, sports stadiums, zoo, and transit systems. Denver had grown by annexing surrounding municipalities. This allowed Denver to capture the "white flight" of people who left or avoided urban areas where more racial minority populations had increased.
Colorado had a reliance on sales taxes for local budgets. Annexation allows the city government to gain revenues from malls and stores that had been outside their borders. Denver had to fight Lakewood and Aurora who began annexing areas that did not wish to be annexed by Denver. In 1973, a state Constitutional amendment passed that made it difficult if not virtually impossible for Denver to annex more areas.
Denver needed a modern airport. A site in Adams County was considered. Denver's Mayor Frederico Pena met with Adams County Commissioners to plan the airport together. Denver offered to pay impact and other fees. The airpot was approved by Denver County voters who reduced their past resistance to Denver's concerns.
Denver in 1983 approved a one tenth of one percent sales tax paid in seven counties for a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. Money went to museums in other cities as well as Denver. In 1989, the region approved another one tenth of one percent sales tax for a major league baseball stadium. In 2004, the region approved a tax for regional rail and bus transit.
Youngstown suffered economically after a 1977 steel mill closed losing 5,000 jobs. More job loss followed. In 1978, Cleveland defaulted on municipal loans. Cleveland lost one fourth of its manufacturing jobs between 1979 and 1983. Over a bill dollars of economic activity left Akron during the 1980s.
Cleveland rebounded in the 1990s by attracting the Rock and roll Hall of Fame and Museum, three sports stadiums, and a new Science Center.
Several foundations raised $30 million for economic development programs in various Northeast Ohio locations. Programs for poor and underserved people were created including education, health, and social programs. Eventually $60 million was donated over a decade. A non-profit involved in technology was among the recipients. Growth was seen in electronics, new energy technology, and water technology. These donations assisted in creating 10,500 jobs and $1.9 billion in revenues.
Northeast Ohio saw alliances formed where economic, social, and cultural connections came together to supports regional growth.
Houston encourage more skilled workers, Community centers provide students help with their studies and other skills so they achieve better at school. These center provide English skills for immigrants which makes them more employable.
THe creation of innovation districts is a component of city growth. Boston, Seattle, and other cities have taken underused areas, often near waterfronts and downtowns and turned them into areas attracting innovative companies, entrepreneurs, researchers, and places where their employees live. They are provided or already have transit access. There are no established duplicable stands on creating innovative districts. Each is unique.
In a global economy, it will be where immigrants settle and international investments are made that will determine which areas get the labor and capital for economic growth. Cities will grow through networking, establishing and working towards a positive vision, and learning what it has or can create that can be a "game changer" that propels actions to sustained economic growth.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Metropolitan Revolution. The authors of this work depart from the dysfunctional U.S. federal system to highlight the revolution taking place at another level: the metro area level, where great efforts are being made to revive the economy. To illustrate this, the first part of the book resorts to specific metros with successful stories such as New York, Denver, Northeast Ohio and Houston, where a broad network of leaders have pragmatically joint forces to overcome the partisan divide, taken on the metros' main challenges and moved forward. But, far from seeking a one-size-fits-all model for metros, the authors focus on the process through which these cities built on their capabilities and efficiently made use of the infrastructure they had to become tales of success. Their goal, and this is their most valuable contribution, is to value compromise and show that another way of framing urbanism and economic growth in the post-recession environment is possible. To dig further into the repositioning and revaluation metro areas are going through, the second part of the book explores the role they play in today's innovative economy and how megatrends will reshape their physical and social landscape. Totally worth reading!
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2014
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.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2013
Well written with thoughtful insights and examples that demonstrate how our cities will influence the U.S. economy in the future.