The Dependent City Revisited: The Political Economy of Urban Development and Social Policy

By Paul Kantor | Go to book overview

Preface

Since the publication of The Dependent City in 1988, urban politics in the United States has changed at least as much as urban political theory. The Dependent City Revisited is a response to both of these things. In chapters that are entirely new or significantly revised, I seek to provide a fresh focus on the politics of urban social and economic development. I also introduce the reader to better ways of making sense of what is happening to our nation's cities and suburbs through new theoretical insights.

Events during recent years have deepened the economic dependency of urban America. The continued restructuring of the global and national economies has unleashed new and more intense economic competition among cities, states, and regions in the United States. This form of dependency on private-sector forces has created new challenges for city and suburb in rendering equitable as well as lasting solutions to their most-pressing community problems. At the same time, federal, state, and local officials have experimented with new ways of coping with the social and political consequences of this dependency. Unfortunately, many of these efforts have been inadequate to the task or have even intensified the plight of cities. For instance, the Reagan-Bush urban policies that sought to limit federal regulation of urban affairs played themselves out during the 1990s. It has now been revealed that homelessness, racial segregation, rising local tax burdens, unemployment, and other city and suburban ills become worse under a federal strategy of limited regulation. The Clinton administration and state and local political leaders have yet to find a compelling new urban strategy. The Dependent City Revisited describes this experience, relates it to the past, and offers some new ways to achieve better urban social and economic development. Most important, I try to demonstrate that the worst urban miseries in the United States are mainly matters of political choice: They necessitate addressing the reality of urban dependency through wise public policy or abandoning our communities to the adverse social consequences of such dependency. This interventionist suggestion for managing our urban dilemma may seem out of fashion during this time of antigovernment sentiment and conservative political tide. Yet I propose this response because I am inclined to believe that good urban policy in America ultimately will spring from recognition by citizens of what policies make them better off rather than from political fantasy and ideological fad.

-XIII-

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The Dependent City Revisited: The Political Economy of Urban Development and Social Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents VII
  • Tables and Illustrations XI
  • Preface XIII
  • 1 - The Dependent City and Urban Politics 1
  • Notes 14
  • 2 - The Emergence of the Dependent City: Mercantile Democracy 17
  • Notes 39
  • 3 41
  • Notes 75
  • 4 - The Postindustrial Political Economy: The New Dependent City 77
  • Notes 111
  • 5 - Urban Entrepreneurship: The Mainstream of Community Development 113
  • Notes 139
  • 6 - The Politics of Decline and Conversion: Central Cities 141
  • 7 - Growth and Dependency: The Politics of Suburbia and the Sunbelt 161
  • Notes 190
  • 8 - The Governmentalization of Inequality 193
  • Notes 211
  • 9 - Can Dependent Cities Redistribute? 213
  • 10 - The Future of the Dependent City 231
  • References 247
  • About the Book and Author 267
  • Index 269
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