Decentralizing Urban Policy: Case Studies in Community Development

By Paul R. Dommel; John Stuart Hall et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
Carbondale, Illinois

JOHN S. JACKSON III

CARBONDALE is a small city of some 27,000 people centrally located in deep southern Illinois, 320 miles south of Chicago and 220 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. Newcomers who move to Carbondale from the East or West coasts are often surprised to find that their new home is closer to Mississippi than it is to Chicago. The nearest metropolitan area is St. Louis, which is 100 miles northwest of Carbondale. Thus the rural and small town people of southern Illinois regard Carbondale as their "city."

Carbondale was founded in 1852 by a local entrepreneur who wanted to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the coming of the Illinois Central Railroad. When the railroad was built, Carbondale became a switching center and transportation hub, and the railroad and coal industries have always been an important part of the economic base of the area.1 The city was built along the railroad, and multiple strands of Illinois Central tracks still run right down through the center of Carbondale, physically dividing it. Slow freights often create frustrating traffic jams that sometimes threaten to make raving antirailroad Populists out of even the most staid and patient of the city's drivers.2


A Small but Cosmopolitan City

In this setting one might expect to find a very homogeneous, parochial, and conservative small city of the type that seems to abound in the Mid-

____________________
THE AUTHOR wishes to thank John Baker, associate professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University ( Carbondale), and William L. Shade, assistant to the governor of Florida for planning, for their helpful comments on this chapter.
1
John W. D. Wright, A History of Early Carbondale, Illinois 1852-1905 ( Southern Illinois University Press, 1977), chap. 1.
2
In 1980, with the help of a federal transportation grant, the city undertook a major project to put the tracks underground throughout most of the city.

-195-

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Decentralizing Urban Policy: Case Studies in Community Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Legislating and Implementing a Block Grant 13
  • Conclusion 45
  • Chapter Three - Phoenix, Arizona 47
  • Conclusion 79
  • Chapter Four - Houston, Texas 84
  • Chapter Five - Chicago, Illinois 120
  • Chapter Seven - Carbondale, Illinois 195
  • Conclusion 220
  • Chapter Eight the Process and Its Outcomes 223
  • Conclusion 240
  • Chapter Nine Decentralization: A Moving Target 243
  • Index 265
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