Sunbelt/Frostbelt: Public Policies and Market Forces in Metropolitan Development / Edition 1

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Metropolitan growth and development results from a complex mix of factors. Consumer preferences, growth and geographical shifts in population, increasing incomes, market restructuring, quality of schools, and location of affordable housing are just a few that play a critical role. Other important influences include state and local interactions, historical circumstances, and the natural topography of a metropolitan area. Federal and state policies, taken together, set the "rules of the development game" that tend to facilitate economic decentralization, the concentration of poverty, and greater fiscal and racial disparities between communities.

In S unbelt/Frostbelt, Janet Rothenberg Pack and her contributors examine the role of market forces and government policies in shaping growth and development patterns in major metropolitan areas. The findings are a result of a multiyear project analyzing five different locales: two sunbelt metro areas (Los Angeles and Phoenix) and three in northern climes (Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Philadelphia). Through its intensive study of these areas, the book offers a deep understanding of the federal policies and diverse market forces that have affected urban development patterns in the last few decades.

Despite the diversity of the cities, the contributors find remarkable similarities in the problems they face. Urban sprawl and spatial inequality are among the common challenges attributable to market forces and public policies. Despite the many similarities, the book finds important differences in the extent of the problems and recommends numerous policies for remedying them. It concludes by examining how these different sunbelt and frostbelt metro areas have attempted to adopt policy reforms that address their unique growth challenges.

Contributors include a team of researchers from Arizona State University, Peter Dreier (Occidental College), Robert E. Gleeson (Northern Illinois University), Joseph Gyourko (University of Pennsylvania), Pascale Joassart-Marcelli (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Manuel Pastor Jr. (University of California, Santa Cruz), Jerry R. Paytas (Carnegie Mellon University), Joseph Persky and Kimberly Schaffer (University of Illinois at Chicago), Anita A. Summers (University of Pennsylvania), Wim Wiewel (University of Baltimore), and Jennifer Wolch (University of Southern California).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"These studies provide the reader with an insightful understanding of the federal policies and diverse market forces which have significantly affected development patterns in these cities....In addition to descriptive findings, Sunbelt/Frostbelt also proposes recommendations to policymakers and corporate stakeholders that would result in a more balanced growth in thier respective cities and regions. A work of impressive and original scholarship throughout..." —Michael J. Carson, The Midwest Book Review

"This is a fine introduction to five urban areas. Furthermore, its methodology could serve a guide to the study of many other US cities. Even those familiar with a particular area studied in this book are likely to come away with helpful nuggets of fact and assessment." —Linda Dobkins Harris, Emory and Henry College, Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Planning, 12/1/2006

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815768104
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Series: James A. Johnson Metro Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Rothenberg Pack is professor of business and public policy and real estate at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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Read an Excerpt


Public Policies and Market Forces in Metropolitan Development
By Janet Rothenberg Pack

Brookings Institution Press

Copyright © 2005 Brookings Institution Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8157-6810-9

Chapter One

Metropolitan Development: Patterns, Problems, Causes, Policy Proposals

Janet Rothenberg Pack

The literature on urban development of the past decade (since about the mid-1990s) has been characterized by the introduction of two concepts: "the New Metropolitanism" and "the New Urbanism." A recent essay refers to the new metropolitanism as a "paradigm shift." Although the term takes on many different meanings, its principal components are "urban sprawl" as the problem and "smart growth" as the solution. Moreover, there are many variations on the definitions of the two components in the scholarly literature, in the increasing outpouring of government studies, in general-interest articles on the subject, and, as will be seen, in the chapters in this volume. Despite the differences, there is, nonetheless, broad agreement on the major themes, however defined-sprawl and smart growth.

The New Urbanism is largely about urban design. The organization Congress for the New Urbanism, founded by a group of architects and town planners, emphasizes the design features of new communities. In their introduction to a forum on the New Urbanism, Sohmer and Lang refer to it as "architecture's answer to our rediscovered urban heritage. New Urbanism models its developments on an eclectic combination of traditional urban neighborhoods.... Neotraditional building styles and mixed-use, mixed-income, and pedestrian-oriented development are New Urbanism's defining characteristics." The tie between the two-New Metropolitanism and New Urbanism-may be seen in a description by Burchell and his coauthors of smart growth as "an effort, through the use of public and private subsidies, to create a supportive environment for refocusing a share of regional growth within central cities and inner suburbs. At the same time, a share of growth is taken away from the rural and undeveloped portions of the metropolitan area."

The rapidity with which these issues have reached the policy agenda is attested to by the numerous ballot issues related to its themes. The ubiquity of the discussion is also evident in the rapidly growing number of professional books and articles on the subject by economists, urban planners, sociologists, and health professionals (to list only a few), and the numerous popular articles-ranging from the National Geographic to the New York Times Magazine. Not all "urbanists" subscribe to either of the new views of urban development, but no discussion of urban policy can ignore them.

Case Studies of Urban Development

The studies in this volume have been designed to improve our understanding of the patterns of metropolitan development over the past few decades. Studying several metropolitan areas intensively-using case studies rather than a broad cross-sectional analysis-permits a deeper understanding of the common factors affecting development, in historical and specific institutional and political contexts. Some of the common factors are federal tax laws that apply to housing and funding for transportation infrastructure. Other important influences may be unique to particular places: historical factors, local culture, state policies, topography. The limitation of case studies, given the unique characteristics of each area, is the difficulty of generalization.

With these advantages and limitations in mind, the study was designed to include both older urban areas, developed before the automobile age, during the years when manufacturing dominated economic activity (including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Chicago) and newer, rapidly growing, automobile-age metropolitan areas (Phoenix and Los Angeles). The older areas are generally assumed to face formidable challenges; the more recently developed metropolitan areas are viewed as having (limitless) opportunities.

What is surprising in these studies are the specific ways in which the older and more recently developed metropolitan areas, both slow and rapidly growing areas, appear to identify similar problems and propose similar remedies, as well as the ways in which they differ on these issues.

History of the Project

The project that led to this book was begun in the late 1990s and the case studies were completed before the 2000 Census data were available, although all of them incorporated local and other data sources extending well into the 1990s. It is clear from the 2000 Census data and numerous other sources that the patterns identified earlier, the issues raised, and the policy discussion are no less pertinent now than they were then; if anything, the urban policy agenda appears to have become even more focused on these issues.

Various participants in the project were concerned with the role played in urban development patterns-spatial patterns-by public policies, in particular highway versus transit investments, the federal mortgage interest deduction, and intergovernmental aid. The discussion considered the possible distorting effects of those policies and explored proposals for changes in existing policies and new policies at the federal, state, and local levels that might have a more positive influence on development patterns.

The result of numerous discussions and preliminary presentations by the participants was a template for the studies. The broad outline guiding each case study included the following four topics. The full template is in the appendix at the end of this chapter.

-Metropolitan growth and development patterns: activity, land use, and infrastructure

-Government spending and regulatory activity

-Problems and positive implications of development and policy

-Policy recommendations

The case studies vary in the extent to which they incorporate or emphasize all of the elements of the template, and some include other issues as well. This is to be expected from five such diverse metropolitan areas and is one of the major virtues of case studies: the ability to see how the characteristics cited earlier, historical circumstances, state and local interactions, and differing natural environments affect what is viewed as a problem and the policy agenda.

The Continuity and Correspondence of Socioeconomic Patterns

Population change and its specific demographic characteristics will have major impacts on the course of metropolitan development. Whether population is gained as a result of natural growth, immigration, migration for economic benefit, or retirement will influence the nature of change and the links between population growth and economic development. Not only are different parts of the country subject to different underlying sources of population growth and decline, they may experience these discontinuously, with periods of rapid or slow growth or decline.

Population Change

Population growth appears to be a major determinant of urban development patterns. The differences among these metropolitan areas and the continuity over time may be seen in table 1-1, where the population growth between 1960 and 1990 is compared with that in the most recent decade for which full census data are available, the 1990s.

As expected, population in the older metropolitan areas has grown very slowly or, in the case of Pittsburgh, declined. However, with the exception of Pittsburgh their suburbs have grown but their central cities have all lost substantial parts of their population. In contrast, in the Los Angeles and Phoenix metropolitan areas, the rates of metropolitan population growth are far greater, and both the cities and their suburbs have grown substantially. The very large percentage growth for Phoenix reflects its very small 1960 population base. The continuity of these patterns is evident in the data for the 1990s. Pittsburgh was still the only declining metropolitan area, Phoenix was still growing most rapidly, and the other metropolitan areas continued to increase in population.

These differences in the growth of the metropolitan area populations mirror the changes experienced by their respective states and by the larger regions of which they are a part. Between 1990 and 2000 the population of the United States increased by 13.2 percent. In twelve states-eight in the West and four in the South-the population increased by more than 20 percent. Of the nineteen states whose populations increased by less than 9 percent, eight were in the Northeast, an additional eight were in the Midwest; only two were in the South, and one was in the West. The growth rates in the five metropolitan areas in this study are consistent with their state rankings. The most rapidly growing of the five metropolitan areas, Phoenix, is in the second fastest growing state, Arizona, with a population increase over the decade of 40 percent. California ranks eighteenth among the states, with population growth of nearly 14 percent. Illinois and Pennsylvania, with the three older metropolitan areas, ranked thirty-fourth (growth in population 8.6 percent) and forty-eighth (growth of 3.4 percent), respectively.

Employment Growth and Economic Dynamism

The correspondence or correlation of economic changes with these population changes may be seen in the comparison of the population growth rates with job growth figures. The component of the Forbes/Milken index "Best Places to Do Business and Advance a Career," which ranks 294 metropolitan areas, includes a component that ranks relative job growth in 2000 indexed to 1995 (see table 1-2). As for population, so too for employment growth. Phoenix is the high-growth standout, with the outer counties of the Los Angeles metropolitan area not far behind, and Pittsburgh is generally the low-growth pole (see table 1-3).

The full Forbes/Milken Institute measure of urban vitality for 2002 and 2001 again compares these five metropolitan areas with one another and with the 294 metropolitan areas included in the index. This ranking takes into account wage and salary growth, job growth, and high-tech output growth and once again indicates the relationship of the various measures of urban vitality-population and employment growth and economic development potential.

The Los Angeles and Phoenix metropolitan areas, where population growth has been rapid, are found at the top of the rankings. In Los Angeles, the outer counties account for the high rating, consistent with the population growth figures in table 1-1. Not surprisingly, the older metropolitan areas are further down in the rankings, although they are mid-ranked locations, far from the bottom of the nearly 300 places included.

There is yet another important indicator of major determinants of urban development patterns and of the relationship of the case study metropolitan areas to one another and to the larger universe, the Milken Institute's "State Science and Technology Index." In this index, five technology- related factors are included for states: Research & Development Inputs, Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure, Human Capital Investment, Technology and Science Workforce, and Technology Concentration and Dynamism. In this index, all four of the states in which the case study metropolitan areas are located rank in the top twenty of the fifty states on a weighted average of these factors: California ranks third, Pennsylvania sixteenth, Arizona eighteenth, and Illinois nineteenth.

Summarizing the Case Studies

Against this background of enormous differences in population and employment growth, the analyses and conclusions of the case studies are remarkably similar.

The Problems

-extensive decentralization, often referred to as urban sprawl, which is associated with increased road congestion (paradoxically associated with excessive suburban road construction), pollution; loss of open space; lack of space for new development;

-spatial inequality-that is, income and racial segregation;

-wide fiscal differences among jurisdictions within the metropolitan area-between central city and suburbs and among older (inner) and newer (outer) suburbs (the exception here appears to be Phoenix);

-a spatial mismatch between the location of growing employment opportunities and the residences of the urban poor.

In several of the studies, these problems are attributed to, or believed to be exacerbated by, public policies that favor suburban locations over central cities. Among the causal public policies are:

-the federal mortgage interest deductions for homeownership;

-federal and state transportation subsidies that favor highway construction over mass transit maintenance and construction;

-federal and state subsidies for new water and sewer systems;

-state policies that cede control over land use to local governments, resulting in large lot zoning and fiscal zoning.

The Policy Recommendations

An important impetus for these studies was the growing evidence that urban development patterns were influenced in important ways-many of them negatively-by public policies. The studies identify the ways in which policies have had distorting effects and recommend numerous policies for remedy; policies that would remove the distortions, as well as others that would be more likely to bring about desired changed n the patterns of urban development. These include:

-correcting the "distorting" public policies;

-greater regional policy coordination;

-coordinated land-use policy and a variety of measures to control growth;

-regional sharing of the fiscal base; greater fiscal equalization by state governments.


Although there is remarkable similarity among the case studies' identification of problems and policies, often the definitions of problems and specific policies are somewhat different. In most cases the differences may be attributed to local circumstances. For example, the case studies use somewhat different definitions of urban decentralization or sprawl, and these differences affect their analysis of the problem, its causes, and potential policy interventions.

The Philadelphia analysis emphasizes the influence of public policies on excessive land use: "Not only do intergovernmental aid flows not function to level the fiscal playing field between fiscal capacities and public service needs-but public capital spending and federal tax policy related to owner-occupied housing also tend to favor the better-off suburban areas. Consequently, the location decisions of some firms and middle-class (and above) households are distorted, leading to unbalanced and inefficiently allocated growth and development throughout the region."


Excerpted from Sunbelt/Frostbelt by Janet Rothenberg Pack Copyright © 2005 by Brookings Institution Press . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents



1. Metropolitan Development: Patterns, Problems, Causes, Policy Proposals--by Janet Roghenberg Pack

2. Chicago: Metropolitan Decentralization--by Wim Wiewel, Joseph Persky, and Kimberly Schaffer

3. Los Angeles: Region by Design--by Jennifer Wolch, Pascale Joassart-Marcelli, Manuel Pastor Jr., and Peter Dreier

4. Philadelphia: Spatial Economic Disparities--Joseph Gyourko and Anita A. Summers

5. Phoenix: Dealing with Fast Growth--by Arizona State University Research Team

6. Pittsburgh: Economic Restructuring and Regional Development Patterns, 1880-2000--by Robert E. Gleeson and Jerry Paytas



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