Local Government Management Book Review Examples
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Many years since deindustrialization and years since the end of the Great Recession, many American states continue to struggle with recovery from job losses, growth in population and increase in taxes as well as identities. Some cities such as Detroit have even gone into bankruptcy. This has elicited great attention and has helped to fan the popularity of this book. Katz and Bradley speak of how the “Metropolitan Revolution” is slowly but surely spreading across the United States, spurred on by pragmatic leaders, out to address the problems that Washington can or will not address (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013). The authors advocate the increasing significance of cities as well as metropolitan areas in providing solutions to 21st Century problems. This paper will review the book; study its critical arguments and specific policy tools, and application of these tools to a specific policy issue.
Metropolitan governance is touted to be at the forefront of economic growth and technology led innovation in the coming future (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013). The state and the national level in the past wielded the most power in matters of governance as well as generation of policy. Governance networks should be responsible for delivering economic development and essential services to the public. This should happen through the cooperation of local governments and social organizations while also including private institutions. The opinion is that innovation is crucial for economic development. The application of this innovation in technologically involving industries is particularly crucial (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013). This innovation will take place in innovation districts. Since these areas are densely populated, people bump into each other and in the process create innovation. Nowadays, it is difficult for innovation to be the reserve of one company. This arises due to the ease of transfer across organizations and boundaries (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013). Thus, a collaborative approach between various organizations, companies and universities included, is creating this innovation. Katz and Bradley talk about the five steps a metropolitan leader must employ to spur the revolution in their areas. The two observe that of late, political impetus has primarily come from local as well as metropolitan areas. The internal fights prevalent at the federal government seem to have stymied initiatives coming from that level (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013). Majority of states are either anti-urban or suffering from financial woes themselves. With local budgets at a stretch too, cities implemented governance schemes including nonprofit organizations and the private sector and metropolitan cooperation with neighbors. Another important scale is the global one. This has increased in importance through better technology in communication and global market integration. Importance, however, has not increased on a uniform scale across the countries. Instead, it is a network of metropolitan regions in trade with each other (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013).
Critical Assessment of the Central Arguments
In the case study of Denver, Katz and Bradley look at the collaborations that are helping to resolve transportation issues that were responsible for derailing growth (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013). Denver had a record of competition in its metropolitan region. These issues ultimately proved too difficult for a single municipality to handle. Hence, cooperation became necessary. This resulted in a consultative forum which purposed to eliminate barriers to mobility and access to all parts of the region by initiating and advocating collaboration between various agencies and organizations All stakeholders have gone ahead to collaborate on the building of a new airport through bundling of resources for example land from one city and capital from another. It is this collaboration and consensus seeking that Katz and Bradley seek to promote. This will create trust between competing municipalities and spur development (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013).
The third case study is that of Northeast Ohio and her approach pertaining to development. In the 1990’s, Cleveland underwent a massive revitalization. This scenario led to an unprecedented property boom in the downtown area of Cleveland (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013). These buildings, however, were only masking a greater problem. The manufacturing jobs that the city had previously based its economy on were draining away. Policy experts crafted a solution, forming a coalition of networks to promote development by establishing an innovation cluster involving the private sector, the government, and local universities. This would create new opportunities and jobs. In the case of Houston, Neighborhood centers, the focus was on a community-developed approach. Neighborhood Centers, a nonprofit institution in Houston, focused on immigrant communities, which were crime prone. Each center provides English lessons, as well as naturalization studies; the centers also offer social services lacking in Houston. They work in the community to help immigrants assimilate comfortably. The lesson here is that organization of the community from the grassroots can lead to change in the disadvantaged communities (Katz, Bradley, & Brookings Institution Press, 2013).
Specific Policy Tools
One of the specific tools proposed by the book is an investment in technology. Katz and Bradley have used the case study of New York to draw attention to how technology is proving a catalyst for development and made the case for why other metropolis should be adopting this approach. The other specific policy or lesson is on how to utilize the immigrant population. Whereas most metropolitan areas view immigrant populations as a burden and a headache, the authors have shown that this need not necessarily be the case. They have demonstrated that in Houston, the authorities have recognized that these people, under the right conditions, can be an asset. The other specific policy mentioned is that of regional cooperation and the well-illustrated case of metropolitan Denver provides insight into how this works.
Katz and Bradley, aim to reach a wide audience and preach their mission of policy changes in the governance of metropolis. They mainly target decision makers in these areas, as well as politicians who design the policies. A specific policy issue that the solutions in the book can assist in addressing is how to create global competitiveness. Application of the strategies proposed in the case studies can assist in forging globally competitive institutions and hence curb the economic meltdown. Poverty alleviation through innovation districts is another achievable goal. By promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, employment opportunities are created and hence, poverty is reduced.
Katz, B. J., Bradley, J., & Brookings Institution Press. (2013). The metropolitan revolution: How cities and metros are fixing our broken politics and fragile economy. Washington: Brookings Institution Press.
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