ISBN : 9780190921675
Reigning theories of urban power suggest that in a world dominated by footloose transnational capital, cities have little capacity to effect social change. In City Power, Richard C. Schragger challenges the existing assumptions, arguing that cities can govern, but only if we let them. In the past decade, city leaders across the country have raised the minimum wage, expanded social services, and engaged in social welfare redistribution. These cities have not suffered capital flight. In fact, many are experiencing an economic renaissance. Schragger argues that city policies are not limited by the demands of mobile capital, but instead by constitutional restraints serving the interests of state and federal officials. Maintaining weak cities is a political choice. In this new era of global capital, the power of cities is more relevant to citizen well-being than ever before. A dynamic vision of city politics for our new urban age, City Power reveals how cities can govern despite these constitutional limits - and why we should want them to.
Introduction: Cities, Capital, and Constitutions
1. What is the City?
Building Blocks of Economic Life
Byproducts and Products
The City as a Process
Conclusion: Mystery and Modesty
2. Decentralization and Development
Competition and Growth
The Historic Vulnerability of City Status
What Does Decentralization Do?
Conclusion: Freeing Cities from a False Constraint
3. Vertical Federalism: Making Weak Cities
Legal Autonomy and Political Influence
Federalism and City Power
Technocracy versus Democracy
Conclusion: Things Could be Worse. I Could be a Mayor.
4. Horizontal Federalism: Encouraging Footloose Capital
Inter-Municipal Border Controls
Subsidizing Mobile Capital
Conclusion: Economic [Dis]Integration
5. The City Redistributes I: Policy
The Limits of City Limits
Mandating a Living Wage
Regulating Through Contract
Conclusion: Exercising Urban Power
6. The City Redistributes II: Politics
Municipal Politics Matters
Conclusion: The Re-emergence of the Regulatory City
7. Urban Resurgence
Urban Policy and Urban Resurgence
Assessing Economic Development Strategies
Uncertainty and Economic Development
Conclusion: Back to Basics
8. Urban Crisis
Debt and Discipline
Of Bailouts and Bankruptcy
The Politics of Municipal Failure
Conclusion: Marginal Cities
Conclusion: Can Cities Govern?