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View Diary: Village Green: Cities matter, but regions and neighborhoods may matter more (9 comments)

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  •  I understand your point (2+ / 0-)
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    Odysseus, Egalitare
    and in certain ways I agree with it, the greater metropolitan area, the region that supports and feeds into and on the municipality would function better and more coherently if the  interconnectedness were recognized and regional problems and challenges, as well as benefits, crossed over the artificial lines.

    But in many ways those lines have enormous real world implications, especially for a city such as Atlanta.  Number one is probably tax base. It supports everything in a property tax supported local governing structure state such as Georgia.  The schools (especially schools), roads, parks, police and fire are totally dependent on that tax base.   If Atlanta, the artificial boundary Atlanta, is starved of investment and operating businesses, it becomes a blighted area unable to support its population.  Add to it the historic residential segregation patterns between African Americans and whites in Atlanta (and its not unfamiliar all over many of the major urban areas across America), and it creates a permanent underclass, citizens who are deprived of opportunity, when the metropolitan area as a whole, thrives statistically.   Its like the old joke about heating a room with an open fire, burning the side of the person facing it and freezing their backside, but on average, the temperature is just right.

    •  A theoretical answer to this very real... (1+ / 0-)
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      Odysseus

      ...concern - and certainly not the only answer - is a regional authority that supercedes any of the affected localities in specific and strategic areas. In practice, giving up that kind of authority - even if it is limited to issues such as water management, transportation management, etc. is difficult politically. Yet, as the diarist points out, viable development has grown beyond the reach of most central cities (in part because developers and real estate interests took advantage of little or non-existent regulation in towns and counties outside of cities). We are well past the point now that water management in, for example, Detroit affects you if you live in Grosse Pointe, Troy, Bloomfield Hills, or any of the other more affluent suburbs around Detroit.

      This is a difficult issue to tackle. In my home region of Hampton Roads, VA, a regional authority has been discussed for decades, but it often becomes a potent wedge issue at election time, too often resulting in electing a majority of officials in the 7 affected cities who are at minimum skeptical of ceding ANY currently held power to some new government authority  - no matter how sensible or cost effective the regional arrangement might be.

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

      by Egalitare on Tue Nov 09, 2010 at 10:57:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  but that's partly my point (4+ / 0-)

      jfronga, it's those jurisdictional boundaries that allow suburban residents to escape paying a fair share of the costs associated with running the central city without which the suburbs would not prosper.  The problem became especially acute in the latter half of the 20th century as it was precisely the people best able to pay taxes that crossed that jurisdictional line.  

      The Twin Cities and a handful of other places have instituted tax-sharing, which is a laudable step in the direction of regionalism.

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