Governing Buildings and Building Government: A New Perspective on the Old Party

Governing Buildings and Building Government: A New Perspective on the Old Party

Governing Buildings and Building Government: A New Perspective on the Old Party

Governing Buildings and Building Government: A New Perspective on the Old Party

Excerpt

The project that has resulted in this book began when the Department of Political Science and the Center for Urban Affairs at Northwestern University invited me to spend the 1978-79 academic year in Evanston. I am indebted to the center and to Louis Masotti, its director at the time, for the generous support afforded this work. While the project (and the visits to Chicago) continued long after I left Evanston, the study could not have been done without the support of the center.

For me, the opportunity to spend a year in Chicago came at a particularly propitious time. I had become intrigued with the role of urban bureaucracies in the production of policy outputs, yet I recognized that the view of urban service agencies I had acquired intensively studying Detroit's thoroughly reformed bureaucracies could be misleading. Moreover, I had become increasingly convinced that two generally uncontested propositions in public administration were, if not simply wrong, at least overly simplistic. The first, the idea that policy and administration were inseparable, seemed not to incorporate the real influence of the policy-making branches and of statutes and ordinances on the behavior of agency administrators. The administrators I have interviewed distinguished situations in which they made policy and those in which they administered it, and they were usually appropriately cautious in policy-making situations. Although occasionally policy making was disguised under the rubric of administration, often the urban administrators I observed did not take action because that action was not permitted by statute or explicitly ordered by supervisors. Furthermore, there seemed to be a lack of clarity in the literature in distinguishing between political and policy-making. This lack of clarity probably came . . .

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