The Government of Metropolitan Areas in the United States

By Paul Studenski; Frank H. Sommer et al. | Go to book overview

Foreword

The report on the Government of Metropolitan Areas is the first comprehensive study of its kind to be published in the United States. The committee puts it forward with much diffidence, realizing that the last word still remains to be said. It is believed, however, that the factual data regarding the widely-varying efforts to solve regional government problems will be of value. The committee has no panacea or formula to be applied indiscriminately to all regions, and its criticisms of past efforts to meet regional needs are made in all modesty. Further experimentation and research are necessary before dogmatic opinions can be safely expressed.

The preparation of the present volume has covered a period of more than four years. It was made possible by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation, which supplied the sinews of war for the Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs. It is unnecessary to state that the. Russell Sage Foundation has had no other part in the report and is in no way responsible for its form or conclusions.

The report is in the first instance the work of Dr. Paul Studenski of New York University to whom the committee is under heavy obligation. As secretary of the committee, he traveled throughout the United States and Canada in field studies and prepared draft reports for criticism by the other members of the committee. Dean Sommer, Dr. Thomas H. Reed and H. W. Dodds constituted a sub-committee on editorship, and to them special acknowledgements are also due.

The rapid growth of metropolitan regions has been one of the conspicuous political phenomena of the Twentieth Century. Its implications were early grasped by city planning engineers who realized that matters of transportation, traffic, water, and sewerage paid little respect to local political boundaries. Their efforts have borne fruit in the regional planning movement which ignores old municipal boundary lines as being frequently arbitrary and obsolete.

But to be of value plans must be executed. The loose clusters of municipal units which for the most part today provide what government there is for extensive regions are impotent to

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