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The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism Hardcover – January 9, 2018
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The New Localism arrives at a time when cities are assuming an even greater role―in the United Kingdom and across the world―in driving modern economics and tackling some of the biggest challenges we face. As this continues at a pace, I’m sure the ideas in this book will help inform urban governance and finance for many years to come.―Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Katz and Nowak focus on solutions at a time when so much of public life is consumed by grievance. They remind us of the best traditions of American problem solving. If you care about cities and what you can do to make them more prosperous and inclusive, then read this book.―John Fry, President of Drexel University
Using many examples, the authors cogently explain how the global re-emergence of the city-state underlies the empowerment of a new breed of metropolitan leader and a dramatic increase in economic growth and political power to the urban center.―Steve Denning, Chairman of General Atlantic
Of great interest to urban activists and workers at the interface of the public and private sectors, with much food for thought for investors as well.
Federal and state governments are unable to innovate fast enough to keep pace with our changing needs. As mayors, we don’t have the luxury of waiting for someone else to lead; we are expected to solve problems and we willingly lean in to that responsibility. Bruce and Jeremy understand this better than anyone and share their optimism for the way local leadership can be the antidote to the growing polarization and political dysfunction at the national level.―Jorge Elorza, Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island
In a time of increasing polarization and dysfunction, The New Localism demonstrates how cities can be the driving force of progress to move our nation forward and solve global problems. While state legislatures and national capitals are too-often paralyzed, local constituencies demand direct results, and initiatives in larger cities can spawn widespread solutions. This book showcases the best within our cities and is a resource for mayors and leaders everywhere to get things done for the people they serve.―Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
If The Metropolitan Revolution explained what was happening in the world’s metros and why, The New Localism does the invaluable work of breaking down the ‘how’: what are the governance mechanisms, the leadership qualities, and most important, the new financing tools that enable metros to drive innovation, expand opportunity, and power the future. Katz and Nowak’s careful deconstruction of new ways of getting things done leaves metros―and the national governments that should support them―with a wealth of ideas, and no excuses for inaction.―Jennifer Bradley, Director, The Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute, and coauthor, The Metropolitan Revolution
A powerful remedy for what ails American government. The new localism the authors propose is not an alternative to effective national governance but a foundation for it rooted in the fact that knowledge and power are shifting downward in this century and that authority must do so too. It is required reading for policymakers.―Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs and author of The Fractured Republic
The New Localism offers a new way of thinking about cities―one that seeks to harness their full potential in order to advance greater opportunity, inclusion, and growth that truly serves the public good.―Cory Booker, United States Senator for New Jersey and former Mayor of Newark
A book that goes beyond the daily headlines of political dysfunction to elevate the work of problem solvers who care about growth and inclusion. Central to the argument is the need to re-connect private capital to a public purpose and recover the potential of public wealth. This is a book about the future and it could not be more timely.―Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
From the Inside Flap
"Power now belongs to the problem solvers"
With the rise of the politics of rejectionism in the United States and much of Europe, how can communities solve the serious social, economic, and environmental challenges they face? The answer, according to urban experts Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak, lies within those cities and urban areas that have been on the cutting edge already, solving the problems of modern postindustrial societies by working to create new vehicles “to get things done.” The authors define this power to make change the “New Localism.”
Power has moved downward, from the national and state government to the city and metropolitan area. It has also moved horizontally, from the public sector to networks of public, private, and civic actors, and globally along circuits of capital, trade, and innovation. While the United States has struggled unsuccessfully, as a nation, with such systemic problems as rotting infrastructure and rising income inequality, cities in both “red” and “blue” states have found their own innovative solutions.
Solving problems at the local level is not only more practical than wishing for national solutions, it can produce better results through a more democratic process. And public resources can be marshaled more efficiently when they are aligned with local market demands.
The New Localism tells the stories of how Pittsburgh and Indianapolis in the American heartland and Copenhagen in Europe have taken the lead in dealing creatively with local problems. Chattanooga, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and St. Louis are profiled as well, providing examples of successful innovation and entrepreneurship. The authors call for a twenty-first-century localism as demonstrated by these cities―one attuned to the needs of all citizens, including those in rural America. Out of these stories emerge new norms of growth, governance, and finance, and a path toward a more prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive society.
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I see Bruce and Jeremy’s book as an inspiration for a long overdue Regional Plan for Metropolitan Washington. The new localism ideas and policies, set in a regional context, could benefit this fascinating region, with lots of "hidden assets". The authors rightfully emphasize the critical issue of metropolitan governance – where government fragmentation works against handling the land use issue regionally. The regional plan could apply some of Jeremy's concepts about metropolitan finance, and inject some real problem-solving and a real action plan in it, not just principles, ideas, and blueprints.
The book’s arguments are well buttressed by carefully selected case studies, which illustrate the power of leadership, public-private partnerships, and decisive intentionality and action. I particularly appreciated the Copenhagen smart public-private partnership case study from a country worth getting inspired from. Copenhagen PPP model could inspire a long-term solution to Washington Metrorail funding, along with Japan’s rail/metro example of a PPP transit authority that not only does not rely on any government subsidies, it turns a profit as well.
Chapter TEN – Toward a Nation of Problem-Solvers, of The New Localism is one of my favorites, with its arguments for leaders and leadership, problem-solving and call to action. We need schools and programs for generalists, urban problem-solvers and leaders, and I have no doubt that Bruce’s affiliation with the London School of Economics Cities international education program, and his European experience can make a significant difference in the circuitous trajectory of ideas, and can make a key contribution to a comprehensive, real world, networked and hands-on, project-based curriculum for urban problem-solvers and leaders.
Inspired ideas? Shared ideas? Recycled ideas? No doubt. And hopefully so. After all, what’s the whole idea about ideas? The best a great scholar can do is to be inspired by ideas, select ideas, process and augment them, add more ideas and turn them into a coherent, original, dynamic and inspiring whole, with a vision, a strategy and a call to action. And Bruce is guilty of working with ideas for decades, and of producing seminal books (editor of Reflections on Regionalism, and co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution, with Jennifer Bradley of the Aspen Institute).
Congratulations, Bruce and Jeremy, for this beautiful and timely book! Urban and regional planners and colleagues, I encourage you to keep this book on you when you approach the tough problems of the profession!
Mircea Enache, Ph.D.