A New Federalism Needed to Support America's Modern Metropolitan-Oriented Economy

In an essay adapted from their new book, Jennifer Bradley and Bruce Katz examine America's traditional 'dual sovereignty' federalism. They argue that metropolitan areas should play a greater role in governance through a collaborative federalism.
June 18, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Fundamentally, cities and metropolitan areas have either been places acted on or the backdrops and locations where state and federal interventions have been made, whether for ill or good," say Bradley and Katz. "They have been treated like one more constituency group to be ignored (or occasionally placated) rather than an integral part of economy shaping in their own right."

"It’s time to recognize that cities and metropolitan areas are actors, not subjects, We know how to talk about the relationship between the federal government and states—we call it federalism, an arrangement in which the states cede some powers to the federal government but retain others, so that the different tiers of government act as dual sovereigns. But metros have been conspicuously missing from that construct."

"The federalism that best serves the cities and metros that drive economic development in the 21st century is not the traditional 'dual sovereignty' that splits power between federal and state governments according to subject matter—but a form of collaborative federalism in the service of cities and metros that set priorities and lead implementation," they argue. "This requires a re-sorting of the roles and responsibilities of government that focuses on how the constitutional sovereigns—the state and federal governments—interact with their city and metro partners across the private and public sectors to co-produce the public good."


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Published on Monday, June 17, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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