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The Spatial Dimension of National Life The emergence of the metropolitan community as the dominant form of urban organization resulted, as has been noted, from the interaction of many factors, including major improvements in trans- portation and communications. Beyond the concern with individual metropolitan areas, however, some questions remain: What is known about the present intermetropolitan network? What are the future implications of forces now at work for the spatial dimension of national life? THE INTERMETROPOLITAN NETWORK As has been indicated, population growth continues to concentrate in metropolitan areas, but at different rates in different parts of the country. One group of 18 states, primarily in the north central, southern, and southwestern regions, has shown continuous concen- tration of population since 1940. In a second group of 18 states, THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF NATIONAL LIFE 87

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population concentration has been increasing, but at a decreasing rate. Only 10 states have had either a constant or decreasing rate of concentration. These data suggest that although concentration will continue, the rate will vary and will be greatest in the southern, southwestern, and north central states, where the metropolitan unit does not account for as large a share of the population as in the northeastern or western states. Natural increase is now the major factor in growth while rural migration is declining in importance. However, rural migration still could play a significant role in the southern and southwestern states. If the decline in birthrates continues, it could begin to slow down the rate of population growth in the metropolitan system over the next several decades. However, it is not likely to reduce the dominance of the metropolitan unit. Although metropolitan areas share certain common characteris- tics, they differ not only in size and rate of growth, but also in many of their economic functions. While data and theory are limited, attempts have been made to classify metropolitan areas in a mean- ingful way and to identify factors that help to explain major differ- ences among them. Central place theory has emphasized that there is a hierachy of center cities and metropolitan areas of different sizes performing different functions. Evans (1972) has demonstrated that if there are land, labor, and service costs that vary systematically with city size, industries having different input requirements will find it advanta- geous to locate in cities of different size. Research is now under way at the Urban Institute to identify how particular economic activities are attracted to cities of a particular size. Duncan and his associates (1960) have described the network of metropolitan communities, each with particular functions, that now composes a nationwide system. Duncan identified five national centers: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Detroit. These cities perform integrative functions for the metropolitan net- work and are aided by a number of regional metropolitan communi- ties such as San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Kansas City, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver. In addition, it is possible to 88 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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identify a number of major manufacturing centers such as Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The influence of these larger centers radiates to lesser metropolitan areas and eventually to smaller cities, towns, and the open country. The consolidating effect of this network can be seen in the lessening of economic and social differences among various regions of the nation. At the same time, differences between large and small centers within the network have increased. Different-sized cities may be most efficient for different func- tions. Clearly, high-level services that cluster with corporate and government decision-making agencies are most attracted to large metropolitan complexes. The fastest-growing metropolitan areas— Atlanta, Houston, and Denver—are emerging as major centers for corporate headquarters and specialized services in the least devel- oped and fastest-growing regions of the country. These cities are assuming roles already held by the largest centers in the established and slower-growing eastern region. In the established regions, such as the East, the fast-growing areas are now the relatively small ones. They are attracting fabrication units and branches of established firms that have found costs and conditions in the largest areas un- profitable. The essence of the regional control and service center is that it centralizes these functions into a single well-integrated complex serving a large area. Even if in some sense the per capita benefits of living in these large cities were maximized, it would not follow that all cities should be of that size. Historically, the Midwest was too small for both Chicago and St. Louis to be regional centers, and Chicago won. Who knows what the relative futures of Houston and Dallas will be? A case has been made by Harris and Wheeler (1971) that, given sufficient mobility of households and businesses among centers of different sizes, aggregate land values for metropolitan areas will cap- ture the net benefits of urban growth. In other words, it is the land market that reflects the net benefits of urban growth, so efficient growth of the metropolitan network will be seen in aggregate metro- politan land values. Land values, adjusted to reflect market prices, THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF NATIONAL LIFE 89

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are available for almost all SMSAs in the United States for 1963. These were analyzed in a multiple regression framework to identify associated variables. The metropolitan areas fall into three basic categories. The first consists of areas that are characterized primarily by manufacturing. The second, which overlaps the first to some extent, contains metropolitan centers with a high concentration of corporate headquarters and business services—the regional centers. The final category consists of the six largest clusters, which perform a large number of national and international control functions. The results of analysis are consistent with the idea that there are increas- ing and then decreasing economies of urban growth over a range of population up to about 3 million. Tentatively, it appears that the first group, manufacturing centers, experiences diminishing returns be- tween 500,000 and 1 million. Beyond the million mark, total land values actually decline in cities without important regional headquar- ters. St. Louis and Pittsburgh are the most notable examples of places that may have grown larger than would be dictated by efficiency. In the second group of SMSAs, those with a large number of corporate headquarters, there seems to be no sign of diminishing returns until the population exceeds 1 million. At that point the net gains diminish less rapidly than is the case with manufacturing centers although beyond 1.5 million there seem to be substantial diseconomies of growth. In the largest metropolitan areas, with populations in excess of 3 million, land values rise in proportion to population increases, and there is no evidence of an eventual reversal of this relationship. These largest metropolitan areas perform the high-level coordinating functions of "world cities," and there is room for only a very few such specialized centers. The system of urban places is best visualized as a functional network rather than a geometrical pattern. Large organizations, whether they operate in the economic sector or elsewhere, all con- tribute to the interrelationship among metropolitan areas, weaving a dense network of connections and interdependencies. Mergers, fed- erations, and growth based on competitive advantage have made these organizations national in scope, with increasing division of labor between their centers and outlying elements. This pattern is in turn reflected in the interdependencies among metropolitan areas. 90 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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Bindings Fac/? metropolitan community is itself part of a larger national, and *ven international, multicentered urban network or system. In this arger system, different metropolitan communities perform differ- •nt roles; the relationships among the parts of the network are not o much territorial as functional. Each provides some services and loods for the others and each, in turn, is served by the others. Together, they constitute a complex web of interdependencies. The network is still growing, and the range and frequency of trans- ctions is mounting. However, what form the future growth of this letwork will take remains uncertain. THREE SIGNIFICANT TRENDS Three tendencies seem to be at work in American society: (1) an increasing scale of activity that expands the variety of options people can exercise, (2) a shift from industrial to service occupations and enterprises, and (3) increasing interest-group and life-style diversity. None of these is a new phenomenon, but the changes they imply are likely to be cumulative. Increasing Scale of Activity Economic development has led over time to very large increases in total national production. Despite current concerns, over the long run these increases are likely to continue. The output in the next quarter century, assuming an annual growth rate of 3 percent, will be double the nation's total production since it was founded. Family incomes and accumulated wealth will rise accordingly. Associated with economic growth is an increase in the size of many institutions. Large-scale universities and other educational in- stitutions have developed. Corporations of unprecedented scale have production outputs that exceed those of many nations. (Gen- eral Motors' annual product makes it eighteenth among the "na- tions" of the world.) Government has been expanding rapidly THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF NATIONAL LIFE 91

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throughout the world; in America, it is by far the fastest-growing institution. These large-scale institutions have the capacity to make large investments. They are able to generate large benefits and large costs for even larger numbers of people. Big oil tankers make big oil spills. Application of DDT rapidly affects animal life throughout a wide region. Large land-development firms quickly set the pattern for urban development over broad areas for a long time to come. Big power dams, big transport systems, and big atomic bombs have large-scale effects, some of which may be long-lasting. No longer are the externalities of industrial activity mere "neighborhood effects," as they used to be called. Organizations whose activities may produce significant side effects must learn to anticipate the consequences of their actions for various publics. Otherwise, their actions may have serious consequences before corrective measures can be taken. Specialization within and among such organizations makes for increasing interdependence among specialized strangers. Occupa- tional and other social roles are so finely divided and their relation- ships so interwoven that it is only slight exaggeration to suggest that nearly everyone is, in at least some degree, dependent on everyone else. There are ever larger numbers of functional links tying individu- als or firms to one another and ever more elaborate communication channels through which the business of the society is transacted. Increasing interdependency and the increasing pace of interaction have led to increasing integration of the specialized sectors and subsectors of the society. Men can communicate with one another directly wherever they are, and they can ship their commodities anywhere within hours or days. As institutions have increased in scale and become more inter- twined, regional distinctions have tended to disappear. Regional po- litical differences are yielding to the nationalization of politics and to the expanding roles of the national government. Tastes in clothing, music, recreation, architecture, food, and so on exhibit more na- tional uniformity. Franchised motels, restaurants, and food distribu- tors sell standardized products or services out of identical buildings coast to coast. And the communications media transmit the same words, pictures, and sounds everywhere simultaneously. 92 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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Metropolitan communities are being linked in an urban system that is national in scale and increasingly integrated. As this happens, towns, cities, and metropolitan areas lose their unitary identities, except in the sense that each occupies a distinct geographic site. The assumption that urban settlements of the future will be like those of the past may only reflect old habits of confusing physical structures with social realities. Service Industry Growth The proportion of the economy devoted to service activities contin- ues to grow relative to growth in the industrial sector. Service indus- tries now employ about 60 percent of the work force. Because of the entire economy's growing reliance on a vast pool of information and knowledge, the service industries engaged in dispensing knowledge, the knowledge industries, are likely to become relatively more signifi- cant for the vitality of urban settlement. Since knowledge is a re- source enhanced rather than exhausted by use and since there is virtually an unlimited supply to be discovered and invented, it seems likely that discovery and learning will continue to be expanding activities, despite whatever resource shortages—real or imagined— may occur elsewhere. Thus, the informational and educational ser- vice roles of urban settlements are likely to be further strengthened, supplanting the manufacture of goods as the strategic function. As a consequence, continuing changes in the location, density, and com- position of urban settlements seem likely. As service becomes pre- dominant, urban areas will have to meet new and different demands, many less constricting than those they currently face. There may, for example, be an increasing degree of flexibility in the location of urban centers. Diversity: An Unanticipated Response One of the unexpected responses associated with the expanding scale of society and increasing standardization of facilities and proce- dures is a growing diversity. This diversity is evident in the emer- gence of special-interest groups, which increasingly are organized on THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF NATIONAL LIFE 93

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a national or essentially nonlocal basis. It is equally evident in a revival of ethnic cultures, young people's experiments with new life styles, and the appearance of new activity groups within the adult population. All manner of interest groups, national in scope but functionally differentiated, are forming. The obvious examples include trade asso- ciations, labor unions, religious organizations, and even local busi- nessmen's clubs such as the Rotary (which takes pride in its internationalism). A significant feature of many of these organizations is that they tend to take on social-control responsibilities. When fully developed, interest-based communities are able to tax their mem- bers, to constrain individuals' behavior by group norms, to impose sanctions for nonconformity, and, of course, to act positively on behalf of their members' special interests. They may have legislative bodies to set policy and activate programs, executive arms to carry on the day-to-day business of the organization and represent the collective interest, and mechanisms for adjudicating differences and establishing standards of behavior. The American Medical Associa- tion, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, and the United Auto Workers resemble governments within the specialized domains over which they are granted jurisdiction. Today's ethnic communities blend the sentiments of solidarity that distinguish the traditional-type community and the pursuit of shared objectives that identifies the modern community. The United States, having drawn its initial population from many nations and cultures, has historical sources of diversity. Despite rapid adaptation of immigrants and their children to urban styles of behavior and thought, differences have persisted. As Glazer and Moynihan (1970) noted in describing the ethnic groups of New York, ethnic diversity is still present and is evident today in the form of interest-groups. Similarly, experimentation and change are widespread in Ameri- ca's mobile, knowledge-rich, highly educated society. Many people are actively experimenting with new modes of thought, new reli- gions, new family structures, new music, new art, new styles of governance, new moralities, and more. Others are experimenting with a variety of educational programs, art and media forms, and recreational activities. Instead of the mass society about which much 94 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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was written in the 1950s, an increasingly pluralistic one, in which each individual belongs to social groups with distinctive norms, seems to be evolving. At the same time, these groups share a com- mon language and a great many customs that permit satisfaction of mutual interdependencies. However, in a setting of expanding knowledge and lively invention in the arts, the technologies, recre- ation, and religion, the possible variations in ideas, behavioral styles, beliefs, and activities are increasing. In an integrated urban system, more and more of the new beliefs and activities may become na- tional in scope. In sum, an increasing scale of activity is evident in the size of the economy, in the size of societal institutions and the scope of their impact, and in the specialization of labor and the multiplication of functional links among individuals and firms. The result is movement toward an integrated urban system in which the unitary identity of particular places is eroded. Growth in the service sector of the economy is reflected in the occupational structure and in the rise of knowledge industries as significant influences on the location, density, and composition of urban settlements. Growing interest-group diversity is reflected, on the one hand, in national interest communities with many social-control functions and, on the other hand, in widespread experimentation with new life styles and activity groups. The result is that social groups are less likely to coincide with the territorial jurisdiction of local governments. More generally, the combined effect of the three trends may be that few of the problems existing in any given locality have their origins in that locality. Thus, locally defined governments con- strained by local boundaries may find themselves impotent to deal with the problems of their jurisdictions. The point can be well illus- trated. The garbage-disposal problem in New York City is not a problem spawned by New Yorkers or susceptible to solution by the mayor or city departments. It reflects modern affluence, the technol- ogies of solid-waste management, and the consumption level of urban populations. None of these conditions is peculiar to any spe- cific city; none has its origins in cities at all, individually or collec- tively. The fiscal plight of central cities is similarly a consequence of THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF NATIONAL LIFE 95

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circumstances that are not specific to any city or locality. Not the least important cause lies in the low rates of man-hour productivity in the service industries as compared with manufacturing and in the inflationary pressures by municipal employees' unions to receive salaries comparable to those in manufacturing. High welfare costs reflect conditions in the regional and national economies, deficient educational opportunities afforded children years before in other states, and various discriminatory practices with complex social his- tories for which no city government can rationally be held liable. Clearly, it is not reasonable to suppose that any city agency might "solve" the problems of unemployment or underemployment; that it might, through local intervention, "resolve" the problems of poverty; that it might significantly affect income distribution; that it might get at the causes of drug addiction; that it might do anything curative about crime or, indeed, about any of a long list of social and economic difficulties that are made evident in city settings. With respect to many of these problems, there is a severe shortage of tested theory. Most of them require the attention of the largest and least territorially constrained societal organization that can be ac- tivated, and that is the national government. METROPOLITANIZATION: SECONDARY EFFECTS OF POLICY Metropolitanization in America has proceeded to its present stage without any sort of deliberative guidance. There has been no explicit national policy for urbanization, and neither the Congress nor any federal agency has ever enunciated guidelines regarding the location, composition, size, growth rates, or physical design of urban centers. And yet, thousands of settlements have been built, some of huge size and incredible complexity. They supply roughly the amount of hous- ing appropriate to their various populations; urban population is distributed among them roughly in conformity with job availability; transportation and communication equipment has been installed, usually with capacities that are barely adequate; shops have ap- 96 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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peared supplying millions of different commodities in amounts just about in keeping with resident demand; and so on. Without any sort of plan or conscious intention, an elaborate and complex metropoli- tan system has come into being, the result of myriad cumulative decisions. Urban development appears to have been highly ordered, to have been governed by self-sensing, self-organizing, and self-regulat- ing processes. Of course, the results are never as good as some would like them to be. Many contend there has never been an adequate supply of decent, safe, sanitary housing; that sewerage systems have never been good enough; and that large American cities have never been as livable as they could be. If one could discover how the urbanization processes have worked—how in the absence of deliberate plan intricately complex systems have been built—the answer might provide the clues to an appropriate policy for the future. None of the intricate urban plants and their social systems sprang forth without the willful application of purpose and intelli- gence. Metropolitan communities developed piece by piece, as indi- viduals and groups constructed the segments that suited their particularistic purposes. These communities have not been designed as wholes, and no group of informed and knowledgeable decision makers has determined their locations and compositions. Neverthe- less, many deliberate policies of the national government have pro- foundly influenced the urban settlement pattern. For example, several congressional acts in the mid-nineteenth century triggered a revolution in agricultural productivity and opened the West to devel- opment, thus influencing urban growth. Similarly, encouragement of foreign immigration led to rapidly growing urban populations at points where expanding factories found ready access to raw materi- als and transport. Congressional incentives for the extension of rail- road lines fostered the spread of economic enterprise to additional transport junctures. Yet it would certainly be an exaggeration to view these developments as the results of a national policy to encourage urban growth. Today, an outsider might infer that promoting suburbanization THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF NATIONAL LIFE 97

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is a deliberate national policy. And he might also infer that the national urban growth plan has been a great success, so consistent have been the outcomes of contributing federal programs. Only urban-renewal efforts to rebuild the old city centers and the earlier public housing programs aimed at making the cities habitable for the poor might appear to be incompatible with the main thrust. Other aspects of the urban-growth policy, as perceived by an outsider, might include emptying the central regions of the nation, industrializing the Old South, intensively developing the Far West, and constructing several new major metropolitan concentrations along the crescent extending from Florida through Arizona and up the West Coast. So many federal programs have reinforced these developments that an observer would be forced to conclude that this growth pattern was consciously intended. Among the actions affecting urban expansion in the crescent from Florida to the West Coast, federal military and space expendi- tures may have been the most important. It would appear that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was deliberately bent on effecting fundamental change in the culture and politics of the South, so insistent was this agency on locating key space installa- tions and supplier plants there. New types of residents and industries have settled there, assumed leadership roles, exercised voting rights, and contributed to the modernization of the local economy, society, and political body. Similarly, the favored treatment accorded to California research and development establishments and manufac- turers by the federal government in contracting for services has been a force in shaping population growth there. If an implicit policy is embedded in the various federal actions that have affected urban growth, it nevertheless has not been a conscious policy. If there was an underlying objective, it was proba- bly encouragement of growth per se—a diffuse sense that more is better. Through it all, American urbanization has been largely plan- less, unintended, and undirected. It has been the outcome of a great many private decisions and a great many governmental policies concerned with agriculture, economic development, transportation, banking, education, and so on. Never has a coherent effort been 98 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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made to deal with the effects of particular public or private policies on urban settlement patterns. Given the deficiences of urban theory, if one had undertaken to formulate an urban-development policy in, say, the late 1940s, it very likely would have been posited on the body of economic and social doctrine current at the time. The character of the American metropolis reflects consumer choices resulting from market forces. Especially in recent years, these choices—private automobiles, sin- gle-family houses, personalized open space—have expressed indi- vidualism. They also provide for open and free association among people with like interests. The collective outcome, of course, has been continued residential segregation. The main problems in urban development arise from two condi- tions. The first is inability of a particular area to attract business and industry, and it includes situations in which investment requirements are so large or risks are so great that large, compensating public investments must be made to attract private capital. The second derives from the possibility that the cumulative individual choices that result in urban development may have a wholly undesirable collective outcome or that a desired collective outcome may be attainable only through collective action. Especially in a society of increasing scale, where events in one place may intimately affect persons in distant places and where repercussions can be huge and rapidly diffused, foreseeing the overall social effects of decisions made by large public and private institutions may be of overriding importance. Despite the expanding scale of organization to the national > there is lack of (1) a broader, more empirically based understanding of urbanization processes; (2) support for innovation and experi- mentation in urban development; (3) a sensitive network for infor- mation collection and analysis that can monitor the outcomes of public and private initiatives; and (4) adequate feedback of findings THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF NATIONAL LIFE 99

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and forecasts to provide a more reliable basis for public andpfivate decisions. The scale and pattern of the urban network of the future remain indeterminate. A better understanding of ongoing trends, future pros- pects, and real policy alternatives and constraints, not merely more planning, is essential. Fundamental knowledge must be obtained not only about the nature of the interdependencies among metropolitan communities but also about the spatial dynamics of the national urban society. This knowledge is needed to provide the basis for policy that is systemic, being simultaneously oriented to whole sys- tems and their parts, to collective ends and to private ones, and to the evolutionary processes by which urban settlements emerge over time. Within this perspective, the common problems of metropolitan communities constitute an important set of issues for the national urban society. 100 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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