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of much relocation, occasioned by the shortage of housing that lowincome families can afford, have created increasing opposition to the rebuilding of central cities and the construction of needed public works.

METROPOLITAN INTERDEPENDENCE Underlying many metropolitan problems is the failure of governmental institutions to come to grips with the growing interdependence of people and communities within metropolitan areas. As urban settlement spreads across lines of local jurisdiction, the cities and suburbs together come to comprise a single integrated area for living and working. People look for housing and employment within a broad region circumscribed more by the convenience of commuting and by personal preferences than by local government boundaries. The existence of a metropolitanwide housing and job market is, in fact, the basis for defining metropolitan areas. In the definition of the U.S. Bureau of the Budget and the Bureau of the Census, "the general concept of a metropolitan area is one of an integrated economic and social unit with a recognized large population nucleus."

The detailed criteria used in defining standard metropolitan statistical areas” (SMSA's) provide further insight into the integrated character of these areas. Each area must contain at least one city of 50,000 inhabitants or more, or "twin cities" with a combined population of at least 50,000. The metropolitan character of the county containing the central city or cities is established by determining that the county is a place of work or residence for a concentration of nonagricultural workers. The specific conditions that must be met include a requirement that at least 75 percent of the labor force must have nonagricultural occupations, and other tests concerning population density and job concentrations. In New England, the components of metropolitan areas are cities and towns rather than counties. Outlying counties (cities and towns in New England) are considered part of the metropolitan area if they meet either of the following tests:

(1) If 15 percent of the workers living in the county work in the county where the central city is located; or

(2) If 25 percent of those working in the outlying county live in the county where the central city is located.

If the information concerning these two requirements is not conclusive, other kinds of information are considered: reports of newspaper circulation, the extent to which residents of outlying areas maintain charge accounts in central city retail stores, official traffic counts, and other indicators of central city-suburban interaction.*

Metropolitan areas are integrated in other ways, as well. Local communities share many kinds of natural resources used for urban living: water supplies, drainage basins, recreation areas. They also share many manmade facilities that cut across local boundaries, such as highway and utility systems, and many other facilities that serve large segments of the metropolitan population, such as airports and commercial centers. These forms of interaction, together with

· For a full discussion of the criteria used in delineating standard metropolitan statistical areas, see Executive Office of the President, Bureau of the Budget, standard Metropolitan siatistical Areas (Washington: Government Printing Office, °1964). An even bronder designation, the Standard Consolidated Area, is used to cover a group of adjacent SMSA's around New York and Chicago.

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the metropolitan character of housing and employment markets, create a broad area of common interest. The optimum use of shared facilities and resources calls for a high level of cooperation and for coordinated action by interdependent communities.

The policies of any one community typically have considerable impact in other parts of the metropolitan area. "If one locality fails to control air or water pollution, its neighbors suffer. This principle was illustrated recently when Nassau County, which borders New York City, demanded that New York put its mosquitoes under surveillance. The public works commissioner of Nassau County charged that swarms of mosquitoes from the city had been invading Nassau territory: "Mosquitoes have no respect for boundary lines or home rule,” he complained.5

The effects of local action (or inaction) that spread into other communities have come to be known as "spillovers. They are very common in metropolitan affairs and often consist of indirect effects. Thus, suburban communities that succeed in excluding the poor impose considerable burdens on other communities where the poor are concentrated. Spillovers can also be beneficial to neighboring localities. Effective traffic control or public health measures benefit people outside a city or town as well as local residents. Spillovers usually imply disparities between tax and service boundaries. Thus the residents of central cities may be taxed to provide services that are important to the suburbs as well as to themselves. Or suburbanites may be taxed to clean up polluted streams that flow into neighboring territory. In all these cases, people who do not live in a particular jurisdiction nevertheless have a strong interest in its performance of government functions.

The prevalence of spillovers constitutes a strong case for cooperation in metropolitan areas. Metropolitan service needs also provide compelling arguments for joint action. In such fields as water supply and sewage disposal, the cost of service per household can be reduced dramatically in large-scale operations by joint agreement of local governments. Similarly, areawide transportation systems highways, public transit-require joint planning if they are to provide needed service at reasonable cost.

Despite the evident and important benefits of cooperative action in metropolitan areas, many local governments continue to go it alone. The realities of functional interdependence in metropolitan areas are in conflict with concepts of home rule that predate the age of metropolitan growth. Home rule in the contemporary metropolitan setting has often led to local isolation and conflict, to the detriment of the metropolitan population at large. Each community, in pursuing its own interests, may have an adverse effect on the interests of its neighbors. A major task for government in metropolitan areas is to develop policies consistent with_the integrated character of the modern metropolitan community. Federal policies are guided increasingly by an awareness of this need, as President Johnson emphasized in his message on the cities :

The interests and needs of many of the communities which make up the modern city often seem to be in conflict. But they all have an overriding interest in improving the quality of life of their people. And they have an overriding interest in enriching the quality of American civilization.

These in

5 "Nassau Protesting Queens Mosquitoes," New York Times, Sept. 12, 1965, p. 1.

terests will only be served by looking at the metropolitan area as a whole, and planning and working for its development.


The fundamental metropolitan problem is not that there are difficulties in supplying public services or ameliorating social and economic disparities. It is that governments in metropolitan areas are often unable to cope with these issues. The system of local government in the United States has many achievements to its credit, but, like any social system, it also has its disadvantages. Within metropolitan areas, many important issues of public policy can no longer be handled by local communities acting alone; their small areas of jurisdiction are inadequate for either administering area wide services or resolving areawide problems.

The close ties of people and businesses to one another in metropolitan areas have no parallel in government. While social and economic relationships have shifted to an enlarged metropolitan scale, governments and the loyalties they inspire have remained local. As Roscoe Martin has put it:

The metropolitan area has no capital, courthouse, or city hall, no corporate existence, no body, no soul, no sense of being, indeed no being in any concrete meaning of the term. Al Smith was from the sidewalks of New York, not from the sidewalks of the New York-Northeastern New Jersey standard consolidated area.

Metropolitan areas are governed not only by traditional cities, towns, and counties, but also by a wide variety of special districts that overlap other boundaries. The complexity of local government can be illustrated by listing the array of local jurisdictions responsible for Park Forest, a suburb of Chicago, as of 1956: Cook County, Will County, Cook County Forest Preserve District, village of Park Forest, Rich Township, Bloom Township, Monee Township, Suburban Tuberculosis Sanitarium District, Bloom Township Sanitary District, Non-High School District 216, Non-High School District 213, Rich Township High School District 227, Elementary School District 163, South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District.?

Fragmentation of this kind may appear to bring government "closer to the people," but it compounds the difficulties of achieving coordination within metropolitan areas. Political responsibility for government performance is divided to the point of obscurity. Public control of government policies tends to break down when citizens have to deal with a network of independent governments, each responsible for highly specialized activities. Even where good channels are developed for registering public concern, each government is so circumscribed in its powers and in the area of its jurisdiction that important metropolitan action is virtually impossible for local governments to undertake. If a few governments are prepared to agree on joint measures or coordinated programs, their efforts can be blocked by others that are unwilling to cooperate.

Local governments, fragmented as they are, nevertheless keep the metropolis running. They operate the schools, maintain the streets, take care of police and fire protection. But when issues of metropolitanwide importance arise-such as commuter transportation, water supply, or racial and economic segregation—people must turn to other channels for action. As Robert Wood has pointed out, an "embryonic coalition" of metropolitan leaders tends to emerge to tackle area wide problems. These leaders--politicians, editors, businessmen, labor leaders-operate informally and outside the regular structure of government, as they attempt to prod government into action. They lack the requirements for effective policymaking: an adequate institutional base, legal authority, direct relationships with the metropolitan constituency, and established processes for considering and resolving issues as they emerge.

Roscoe C. Martin, Metropolis in Transition: Local Government Adaptation to Changing Urban Neede (Washington : Government Printing Office, 1963), p. 141.

+ Edward C. Banfield and Morton Grodzins, Government and Housing in Metropolitan Areas (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958), p. 18.

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When important public issues can only be handled informally and outside government channels, it is time to review the system of government in metropolitan areas and to regard the shortcomings of this system as major problems in themselves. Norton Long has set the problems of metropolitan areas in this political context:

The problems of the metropolis are important, but not because of flooded cellars or frustrated motorists, nor because they seriously threaten the viability of the metropolitan economy. They are important because they are symptomatic of the erosion of the competence of local government * * The threat of the eroded central city and the crazy-quilt triviality of suburbia is the threat to destroy the potential of our maintaining and reconstructing meaningful political communities at the local level. What has been treated as a threat to our physical well-being is in reality a threat to our capacity to sustain an active local civic life.9


With local governments often unwilling or unable to meet metropolitan needs, the Federal and State Governments have taken on increasing responsibilities for metropolitan welfare. The State role ranges from financial aid to local governments to direct State operations in metropolitan areas, such as highway building, and State establishment of special metropolitan authorities responsible for such functions as water supply and port development. The Federal role consists mainly of financial assistance for programs administered by State or local government. The number and size of Federal-aid programs have been, growing at a striking rate: there are now more than 70 Federal-aid programs that directly support urban development, as well as a number of other kinds of Federal aid available to local governments in metropolitan areas.

State and Federal programs are helping to cope with many metropolitan needs, but they also raise troublesome political and governmental issues. Federal and State participation in metropolitan affairs greatly complicates the already fragmented governmental scene. Activities of all three levels of government now function in close juxtaposition, subject to an extremely complicated web of Federal, State, and local laws and administrative regulations. In the course of supplying needed help, Federal and State programs threaten to push the confused governmental situation closer to a state B Robert C. Wood, Metropolis Against Itself (New York : Committee for Economic Devel

9 Norton E. Long, "Citizenship or Consumership in Metropolitan Areas," Journal of the American Institute of Planners, XXXI (February 1965), pp. 4-5.

opment. 1959), p. 38.

of chaos. Coordination of efforts is a prime requirement for effective government action in metropolitan areas; yet the problems of coordination are compounded by the addition of higher levels of government to the fragmented local scene.

There is an implicit danger that greater reliance on Federal and State action in metropolitan areas may be a form of political abdication in which local governments wash their hands of difficult responsibilities and pass the buck to higher levels. This approach would lead to waning local influence over policies and programs that have significant local impact. Thus it is important to find ways of administering State and Federal programs within a system of democratic control in which metropolitan citizens can shape the programs that operate in their own areas.

Local communities in search of financial aid have turned mainly to the Federal Government rather than the States. The rural orientation of State legislatures has been well documented, and is only now changing to reflect recent reapportionments. For a number of reasons, the cities have found a more sympathetic hearing in Washington than in the State capital. In seeking Federal aid for urban problems, cities have tended to bypass the State and deal directly with Washington. A pattern of intergovernmental relations has developed in which cities and towns in metropolitan areas pursue largely independent policies, with a minimum of interlocal cooperation, but many engage in numerous direct dealings with the Federal Government. The State role has been lagging far behind both local and Federal activity. Yet the States occupy critical positions within the American federal system and possess the power and resources to strengthen local capacities and stimulate greater cooperation within metropolitan areas.

The new intergovernmental relationships also pose more fundamental issues for the future of the American federal system. Minimizing State participation in urban affairs is tantamount to removing State influence from a critical range of domestic issues. The federal system of the United States involves a division of powers between the States and the Federal Government. The States have created a further division by delegating powers to the local governments they have established. If the State role in this partnership is weakened, the ramifications may be far reaching. Without active State participation, it is doubtful whether local government can be reorganized to perform more effectively in metropolitan areas; the localities derive their powers from the States and need State authorization for structural reforms. More broadly, the State role in metropolitan affairs must be considered in terms of the philosophy of the federal system. The division of authority between the States and the Federal Government has served the country well in the past and has helped to safeguard the values of representative and responsible government. Basic changes in the system of intergovernmental relations should not be undertaken lightly or permitted to occur by default.

A major concern of this compendium is the proper use of the federal system in dealing with metropolitan area problems. It is necessary to consider not only the tangible problems that require solution, but also an equitable allocation of responsibilities within the federal

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