Regionalism and Realism: A Study of Government in the New York Metropolitan Area

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Drawing on the history of state and local government in the New York Tri-State metropolitan region, the authors present a pathbreaking new theory about the values reformers must understand and balance in order to tackle the hard challenges of reforming and regionalizing local governance in the complex, dynamic world of American politics and public policy. Their examination of the way 2,179 local governments in the Tri-State region have evolved over more than a century pays special attention to New York City, but is applicable to other metropolitan areas. It brings to life ideas that are crucial to a subject that in the academic literature is often treated in a way that is abstract and hard to grasp. This is a valuable book for scholars, political leaders, and students interested in regionalism in metropolitan America and in the fascinating history and governance of the nation¡¯s largest city and its vast metropolitan region.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It moves well beyond a case study of a single metropolitan area to discuss, with sophistication and insight, how regionalism is affecting governance more generally within metropolitan areas.... The final chapter, Lessons for the Future, contains rich and pertinent advice and should be required reading for all those seeking to reform how metropolitan areas are governed. Highly recommended for all libraries." —E.T. Jones, University of Missouri, St. Louis, Choice, 3/1/2002

"[A] smart, compelling, and eminently insightful book.... This is a blunt, pragmatic, and highly readable book. Students and practitioners of metropolitan affairs- and particularly those putting all their eggs in regionalism's basket- will do well to heed its course-correcting call." —Kathryn A. Foster, University of Buffalo, Urban Affairs Review, 7/1/2002

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815700883
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Benjamin is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of political science at the State University College at New Paltz. Richard P. Nathan is professor of political science and public policy at the State University of New York, Albany. He also serves as director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and as provost of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the university.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Understanding Regionalism
1 The New York Region: 2,179 Governments 3
2 The Values of Regionalism 33
Pt. 2 Regionalism and the New York City Experience
3 One Grand and Glorious City 53
4 Creating Real Local Government in New York City 77
5 The Limits of Metropolitanism 91
Pt. 3 Functional Regionalism
6 Across State Lines: The Port Authority 115
7 Single-State Agencies: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit 135
Pt. 4 The Regional Idea in Subregional Settings
8 The Persistence of Suburban Localism 161
9 Two Approaches: Bottom Up and Top Down 178
Pt. 5 The Nation in the Regional Arena
10 The Case of Solid Waste 227
Pt. 6 Conclusion
11 Lessons for the Future 255
Notes 269
Index 301
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