local government

Building the Responsive City

The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data Smart Governance

by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford

Technology, and especially the use of data and analytics, has been transforming the way cities manage service delivery. Former Indianapolis mayor New York City deputy mayor Steve Goldsmith, and his colleague at Harvard Susan Crawford, recently wrote a book called “The Responsive City” looking at this technology revolution.  read more »

Will Obamacare Bail Out Cities?

When Rahm Emanuel was Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, little did he know he’d be helping craft a law that would help him as the future Mayor of Chicago. Many American cities failed to put away enough money for current and former government workers.  Rahm Emanuel and powerful Democratic Party interest groups would like the federal government to bailout their pensioners.  read more »

Avoiding Expensive Municipal Mergers

An article in The Wall Street Journal discussed attempts to merge local governments in Michigan. While efforts such as these gain wide support because of the belief that they will save money, there evidence shows the opposite.  read more »

How the Tobacco Companies Should Spend Their Money

Once again, in the debate over California’s Proposition 29, the tobacco companies seem to have all the money in the world, even though relatively few people smoke nowadays. Under the circumstances, I don’t shed much of a tear for them.  read more »

Subjects:

Trials, Tribulations and Middle Class Protest in Christchurch, New Zealand

It has been a tough year and a half in Christchurch. Christchurch is the largest urban area South Island and second in size in New Zealand only to Auckland. On September 4, 2010, Christchurch was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, stronger than the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that with its aftershocks killed 300,000 people in Haiti in 2010. To the great fortune of Christchurch, there were no fatalities from the September quake.  read more »

What to Do About Gang Violence in Salinas California

Is there any connection between the fact that Salinas has the gang problem that it does, and the fact that Monterey County's restrictions on the building of housing are very strict?  read more »

Cities Have Outgrown Their Role as Mere Creatures of the Provinces

The Martin Prosperity Institute recently released the map below, which compares the GDP of several US metropolitan areas to the size of national economies. For instance, the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has a GDP of $311.3 billion dollars. If it were a country, it would be the 40th biggest national economy on earth, ahead of countries such as Denmark ($310.1) and Greece ($303.4).  read more »

A More Objective Attitude Toward the Suburbs (Almost)

It is always encouraging to see greater objectivity in the treatment of the suburbs. In fact, the urban form includes not only the urban core, but also the suburbs and economically connected rural areas and exurban areas that are beyond the urban footprint. This fact has often been missed by some urbanologists who imagine no city extends beyond the view on the foggiest day from a central city office tower.  read more »

Commissioner Leonard Steps Up Portland’s War on Fun

Portland is known primarily as a cool city, where people spend their 20s happily working in the service sector, drinking craft beer, eating organic food, and exploring a variety of unconventional lifestyle options. In short, Portland is weird. That’s not just an observation: it’s the city’s marketing strategy. Keep Portland Weird is a pretty common bumper sticker in the city (believe it or not, there are cars in Portland). Yet despite the non-conformist attitude of Portlanders, the municipal government seems bent on destroying everything fun about the city.  read more »

Australian Local Governments Stop Forced Amalgamation

Local government consolidations are often proposed by a wide range of interests, often out of the belief that they will produce more efficient (less costly) governments. Much of the academic literature supports this view. However, the evidence indicates that material savings routinely fail to occur from such amalgamations. The claimed $300 million annual savings in Toronto's megacity quickly became higher costs and a larger bureaucracy.  read more »