About two-thirds of the country lives in the 100 top metro areas.
By BRIAN BURNES
The Kansas City Star
Author Bruce Katz believes it makes little sense that such a vast demographic would wait for leadership from the one spot on the map Washington known increasingly for not getting things done.
When you think about change in a city or metropolitan area, it is usually brought about by a collaboration among stakeholders trying to tackle a challenge, Katz said recently. The federal government can be hijacked by partisans.
Cities tend be more pragmatic.
Katz, a vice president of the Brookings Institution in Washington, details the rise of American cities in The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy, written with colleague Jennifer Bradley.
He knows about Kansas Citys bi-state sales tax, approved in 1996 by voters of several area counties, to finance Union Stations renovation.
Hes also aware of how, more recently, economic development officials in Kansas and Missouri have used various incentives to lure companies across each side of the state line.
I think successful metros going forward need to understand what their positions are in the global economy, Katz said
Denver may be a useful model, Katz said. While Denver has no state line to contend with, Katz said, it once had a constellation of communities whose leaders, in the 1960s and 1970s, clashed over annexation and desegregation issues. A focus on a more regional approach took decades to develop, Katz said.
One step: the May 1988 voter approval in Adams County (north and east of Denver) for construction of Denver International Airport. Another: the November 1988 voter approval across several Denver area counties to create a $40 million cultural facilities fund.
In 2004, regional voters supported a new transportation system.
Denver area leaders have shown an incredible level of collaboration, Katz said.
I think successful metros will spend less of their shared resources helping firms to move a mile or two, and more of them actually figuring out what the special advantages of its metro area are.
Katz speaks at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 4801 Main St. His appearance is co-sponsored by the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.
For more info, go to KCLibrary.org.