How Anti-Urban State Legislatures Hurt Cities

Creating a new version of the "haves" and the "have nots," Richard Florida distinguishes cities struggling against state-level anti-urban policies from cities that get more support from the state.

1 minute read

December 29, 2017, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Austin

Andrew Nourse / Flickr

Richard Florida opens his latest article for CityLab by sharing a familiar refrain heard in blue cities located in red states: "The folks in our state government and state legislature are against us." According to Florida's take, the problem is worsening in the Trump era of U.S. politics, and "a growing number of cities and metro areas are also located in states which are actively undermining their interests."

To quantify the damage that anti-urban state policies can have on urban localities, Florida worked with his Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) colleague, Patrick Adler, to build an infographic to separate the state-supported local urban areas, from the state-obstructed local urban areas. Following the chart, Florida lists some of the anti-urban policies that have earned states like Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona their reputation.

"This split between states is becoming yet another factor in America’s deepening spatial inequality," writes Florida. "Over time, the relatively small group of cities and metros in pro-urban states are likely to develop even deeper advantages in attracting talent and building the knowledge economy." 

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