Place Matters: Metropolitics For The Twenty-First Century (Studies in Government and Public Policy)

Place Matters: Metropolitics For The Twenty-First Century (Studies in Government and Public Policy)

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New edition of a classic. Three distinguished scholars challenge us to put the urban crisis back on the national agenda, both as a moral challenge to our conscience and an economic challenge to America's prosperity and our families' pocketbooks. Focusing on the growing concentration of poverty in our cities and older suburbs and the mounting costs of suburban sprawl, they argue that these problems have political origins and can thus be resolved through political means--but only if we fully understand the power of place.

Despite modern telecommunications--faxes, linked computers, etc.--where we live shapes our lives and fortunes as much as ever. Place affects our access to jobs and public services (especially education), our access to shopping and culture, our level of personal security, the availability of medical services, and even the air we breathe. Economic segregation is increasing in American metropolitan areas--the rich and poor continue to move apart from one another. This has devastating effects on those who are forced to live in areas of concentrated poverty. But it also imposes costs, often unrecognized, on middle class and rich families who in their effort to escape the problems of concentrated poverty, undermine the quality of their own lives by suffering the effects of unrestricted sprawl.

The central thesis of Place Matters is that economic segregation between rich and poor and the growing sprawl of American cities and suburbs are not solely the result of individual choices in free markets. Rather, these problems have been powerfully shaped by short-sighted government policies. The first order of business must be to overhaul those policies. In the process, both urban and suburban citizens will gain a keener awareness that they are all ultimately bound by common interests and share a common fate.

Not simply another polemic on the plight of the inner-city poor, Place Matters provides a practical road map for reform based on penetrating analyses of economic and demographic trends, voting patterns, and congressional politics. While "sounding the alarm," it also provides guidance and hope for elected officials at local, state, and federal levels, as well as policy makers, scholars, teachers, community activists, business leaders, economists, social workers, and the urban clergy.

This book is part of the Studies in Government and Public Policy series.