Sipping from the Tea Party Cup: A Call for an Urbanist Revolt

Musing on the discussion at last week's Citylab conference, Jarrett Walker finds a surprising convergence with the ideology of America's Tea Party: "Big and active national government may not be the answer." Would cities be better off going it alone?

At last week's Citylab conference, a gathering of some of the world's leading urban thinkers, Walker heard an unexpected refrain: "A full-throated demand, from several surprising voices, for an urbanist revolt against the power of national governments."

Recent articles and books have touched on the growing influence of cities, and diminishing power of nation-states, amid our globalizing, urbanizing world. "Follow this logic and you might arrive at a radical urban Federalism, perhaps even one that could meet tea-party demands to 'Abolish the IRS!'" suggests Walker. "Pay taxes to your city or state, and let them send a bit of it on to central government to do the few things that only a central government can do.  Push power downward to the scale where problems can be solved." 

"In the US itself, it's easy to see the current cuts in Federal spending as a disaster for urbanism and infrastructure.  It is, but it could also be something else: an invitation to governments that are closer to the people to have their own conversations that lead to local consensus about funding and solutions."

Full Story: time for an urbanist "tea party"?


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