2
Central Cities, Suburbs, and Metropolitan-Area Problems

In this chapter, we outline the spatial distribution of the population of metropolitan areas in broad terms, comparing central cities with suburbs and examining race and income characteristics of metropolitan-area residents. We then discuss the role of local governments in creating and perpetuating this pattern of spatial distribution. Next we consider the role of central cities and whether they retain a competitive advantage for economic growth in metropolitan areas. We then discuss whether the problems of central cities and their residents affect the suburbs and their residents and employers. Finally, we examine strategies for building political support for central cities.

Spatial Distribution of Population in Metropolitan Areas

Metropolitan areas consist of central cities (municipalities of 50,000 or more residents) and surrounding areas (counties) that are economically and socially integrated with these central cities, as determined primarily by commuting flows.1 Metropolitan areas are thus functional labor markets. In 1990, 78 percent of Americans lived in metropolitan areas, compared with only 26 percent in 1900 and 63 percent in 1960.

Of the increase of nearly 80 million in metropolitan-area population between 1960 and 1990, approximately 42 million was a result of population increase within constant boundaries,2 and 38 million was a result of the addition of new metropolitan areas (from 212 to 318)3 and changes in the composition of existing ones (as metropolitan areas added counties on their fringe that previously were



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2 Central Cities, Suburbs, and Metropolitan-Area Problems In this chapter, we outline the spatial distribution of the population of metropolitan areas in broad terms, comparing central cities with suburbs and examining race and income characteristics of metropolitan-area residents. We then discuss the role of local governments in creating and perpetuating this pattern of spatial distribution. Next we consider the role of central cities and whether they retain a competitive advantage for economic growth in metropolitan areas. We then discuss whether the problems of central cities and their residents affect the suburbs and their residents and employers. Finally, we examine strategies for building political support for central cities. Spatial Distribution of Population in Metropolitan Areas Metropolitan areas consist of central cities (municipalities of 50,000 or more residents) and surrounding areas (counties) that are economically and socially integrated with these central cities, as determined primarily by commuting flows.1 Metropolitan areas are thus functional labor markets. In 1990, 78 percent of Americans lived in metropolitan areas, compared with only 26 percent in 1900 and 63 percent in 1960. Of the increase of nearly 80 million in metropolitan-area population between 1960 and 1990, approximately 42 million was a result of population increase within constant boundaries,2 and 38 million was a result of the addition of new metropolitan areas (from 212 to 318)3 and changes in the composition of existing ones (as metropolitan areas added counties on their fringe that previously were

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not included as part of the area) (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1995:961-962). Between 1960 and 1990, the total land area in metropolitan areas more than doubled, from 308,000 to 673,000 square miles. In 1990, metropolitan areas comprised more than 16 percent of the total land area in the United States (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1995:962). In comparison to similar areas in most other countries, U.S. metropolitan areas are characterized by large numbers of local governments (Weiher, 1991:176). In 1997, the average metropolitan area consisted of 114 local governments: 2 counties, 42 municipalities or towns, and 70 special districts, of which 21 were school districts. There were 18 local governments for every 100,000 people in metropolitan areas. The variation in the number of governments per metropolitan area is substantial, even after standardizing for population size. Of the 15 largest metropolitan areas, St. Louis and Houston had the largest number of governments per 100,000 people, and New York and Los Angeles had the fewest (see Table 2-1). Chicago had the largest total number of local governments, followed by Boston and Philadelphia; Anaheim, San Diego, and New York had the fewest. The number of TABLE 2-1 Governments in 15 Largest Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas, 1997 Metropolitan Areas Total Governments Governments/ 100,000 Population General-Purpose Governments/ 100,000 Population Anaheim 147 6.1 1.3 Atlanta 261 8.8 4.3 Bostona 1,000 17.9 7.0 Chicago 1,458 19.7 6.3 Dallas 326 12.2 5.8 Detroit 378 8.9 5.1 Houston 790 23.8 2.6 Los Angeles-Long Beach 354 4.0 1.0 Minneapolis-St. Paul 549 21.6 13.5 New York 213 2.5 1.0 Philadelphia 877 17.8 7.4 Riverside-San Bernadino 309 11.9 1.9 San Diego 181 7.2 0.8 St. Louis 789 31.7 12.5 Washington, D.C. 169 4.0 2.7 Average   11.9 4.4 a Boston figures refer not to the Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area but to Boston's New England Consolidated Metropolitan Area. Source: Census of Governments preliminary estimates, 1997.

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local governments per 100,000 residents in metropolitan areas was greater in the Midwest (27) and the Northeast (20) than in the West (15) and the South (13) (U.S. Bureau of the Census, preliminary 1997 estimates.) There has been a modest amount of research on what accounts for the variation among metropolitan areas in the number of local governments. Not surprisingly, the absolute level of local governments among metropolitan areas is associated with size as well as with age of the area and income level (Hawkins and Dye, 1971). There has also been some research on the geopolitical fragmentation of metropolitan areas (measured by the number of local governments per 10,000 people divided by the percentage of total metropolitan-area population residing in the central city) and the extent to which metropolitan-area government structure is dominated by the central city (with low levels of geopolitical fragmentation indicating central-city dominance). Geopolitical fragmentation was found to vary regionally, with the most fragmented areas concentrated in the Northeast and the North Central regions and the least fragmented (most city-dominated) in the South and the West, where county government dominated (Zeigler and Brunn, 1980). Central Cities Versus Suburbs Within metropolitan areas in 1990, approximately 40 percent of residents lived in central cities, and 60 percent lived in suburbs. However, this proportion varied enormously among metropolitan areas: for example; among the 15 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, only 16 percent of Atlanta metropolitan-area residents and 21 percent of Washington, D.C., metropolitan-area residents lived in the central cities, compared with 51 percent in Houston. The process of suburbanization has characterized metropolitan areas for many decades. In 1950 in metropolitan areas, 59 percent of the population lived in central cities and 41 percent in the suburbs. By 1990, however, this was reversed: almost 60 percent lived in suburbs and only 40 percent in the central city (Table 2-2). In every census since 1930, the suburban-area population has grown at a more rapid rate than the central-city population (Heilbrun, 1987:29). However, the regional variations are substantial. From 1980 to 1990, the central-city population grew by only 3 percent in the East and the Midwest, but it increased by 17 percent in the South and 24 percent in the West. Despite frequent references in the popular press to "back to the city" movements, the movement of people into the city from the suburbs in the mid-1990s continued to be overwhelmed by people moving from the city to the suburbs (Kasarda et al., 1997). This is, of course, not inconsistent with the revival of specific selected neighborhoods in cities. Despite the slow growth or decline of many of the cities in the Northeast and the Midwest, central cities nationwide have retained their share of the U.S. population over a long period of time. Cities accounted for 32.5 percent of the U.S.

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TABLE 2-2 U.S. Population Living in Metropolitan Areas and in Their Central Cities and Suburbs, 1900-1990 (percentage)   U.S. Population Living in: Metropolitan Population Living in: Year Metropolitan Areas Central Cities Suburbs Central Cities Suburbs 1900 25.5 19.7 5.8 77.3 22.7 1910 28.3 21.7 6.6 76.7 23.3 1920 34.0 25.3 8.7 74.4 25.6 1930 44.6 30.8 13.8 69.1 30.9 1940 47.8 32.5 15.3 68.0 32.0 1950 56.1 32.8 23.3 58.5 41.5 1960 63.3 32.3 30.9 51.0 49.0 1970 69.0 31.4 37.6 45.5 54.5 1980 74.8 30.0 44.8 40.1 59.9 1990 77.5 31.3 46.2 40.4 59.6 Note: Metropolitan areas as defined at each census since 1910. Data for 1900-1940 exclude Alaska and Hawaii. Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1990b). population in 1940, 32.3 percent in 1960, and 31.3 percent in 1990. Suburbs of metropolitan areas, in contrast, increased their share from 15 to 31 to 46 percent over the same time periods, almost completely at the expense of nonmetropolitan areas (see Table 2-2). Race and Income Metropolitan areas are characterized by substantial spatial clustering with respect to both race and income. Minority populations are particularly concentrated in central cities. Although nationally only 25 percent of non-Hispanic whites lived in central cities in 1990, 57 percent of all blacks and 52 percent of all Hispanics lived in these areas (see Table 2-3). As a consequence, central cities are disproportionately the home of minorities, and suburbs are disproportionately the home of whites. In 1990, 21 percent of central-city residents were black compared with 7 percent in the suburbs; 15 percent were Hispanics compared with 8 percent in the suburbs (Frey, 1995:322). However, there were important variations among metropolitan areas. In the Detroit metropolitan area, for example, 66 percent of the central-city population was black compared with 4 percent in the suburbs; in Los Angeles-Long Beach, 14 percent of the city population was black compared with 9 percent in the suburbs. Racial segregation is extraordinarily high in most U.S. metropolitan areas. The conventionally used measure of segregation is the dissimilarity index, which

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TABLE 2-3 Breakdown of Residence by Race and Ethnicity, 1990 (percentage) Residence Total Population Non-Hispanic Whites Blacks Hispanics Metropolitan Areas 77.5 74.7 83.8 90.4 Central Cities 31.3 24.5 57.3 51.5 Suburbs 46.2 50.3 26.4 37.3 Nonmetropolitan Areas 22.5 25.3 16.2 9.6   Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1990a). measures the percentage of one racial group that would have to move in order for each census tract to have the same percentage of that group as exists in the entire metropolitan area. The average black-white dissimilarity index for 318 metropolitan areas in 1990 was 66 (Jargowsky, 1997). Among the 15 most populous metropolitan areas, the dissimilarity index for 1990 ranged from a high of 87 in Detroit to a low of 56 in Seattle. Since school attendance is largely based on residential patterns, school segregation is also quite high. In 1991-1992, 66 percent of all black students and 73 percent of all Hispanic students attended schools that were predominantly minority, and 34 percent of each group attended schools that were 90 to 100 percent minority (Orfield et al., 1993). There is general agreement that segregation, as measured by the dissimilarity index, has been declining slightly over time. Examining the 30 metropolitan areas with the largest black populations, one study suggests that black-white segregation declined 8 percent, from an average of 81 in 1970 to 73 in 1990 (Massey and Denton, 1993:Table 8.1). Over the 1980s, another study reports that the average dissimilarity index between blacks and non-Hispanic whites fell from 70 in 1980 to 66 in 1990, and that 260 of the 318 metropolitan areas actually experienced decline in the index over the 1980-1990 period (Jargowsky, 1997). Farley and Frey (1993) report that the average index of dissimilarity for 232 metropolitan areas with significant black populations declined from 69 to 65 over the same period. Modest declines are reported since 1968 in the proportion of blacks and Hispanics attending predominantly minority schools, and massive drops are reported in the percentage of blacks attending schools that are 90 to 100 percent minority (from 64 percent in 1968 to 34 percent in 1991; however, the percentage of Hispanics attending such schools actually increased from 23 to 34 percent over the same period). Virtually all of the improvement occurred in the early years of that period, and there have been slight increases in the segregation of schools since the late 1980s (Orfield et al., 1993). Similarly to minority populations, low-income people tend disproportion-

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ately to live in central cities rather than suburbs. In 1990, 60 percent of the population of metropolitan areas living in households below the poverty level lived in central cities, compared with 40 percent in suburbs. Economic segregation also exists throughout the entire metropolitan area and, unlike racial segregation, is growing. Using a dissimilarity index as a means of measuring the economic segregation of the poor in metropolitan areas (that is, the proportion of the poor who would have to move in order to achieve an even distribution of poor people by census tracts across the metropolitan area), one study found that the mean value for households with income below the poverty level in the 100 largest metropolitan areas rose from 33 in 1970 to 36 in 1990, an increase of 11 percent (Abramson et al., 1995). The residential racial segregation of blacks is not simply a by-product of economic segregation. As described by Massey and Denton (1993), the average level of segregation for blacks, as measured by the dissimilarity index, in the 30 metropolitan areas with the largest black population varies hardly at all by black income. High-income blacks live in areas nearly as segregated as do low-income blacks. Massey and Denton note that this pattern contrasts sharply with that of both Hispanic and Asian segregation, which ''begins at a relatively modest level among the poor and falls steadily as income rises'' (1993:87). In addition, the level of income segregation is markedly lower than the racial segregation dissimilarity indices. The average racial segregation dissimilarity index for the 204 metropolitan areas examined by Cutler and Glaeser (1997) was 59 percent, and the average income segregation dissimilarity index (measured by examining what percentage of the bottom quartile of the income distribution for all households would have to move in order for each census tract to have the same percentage of low-income people as the entire area) was 22 percent. Likewise, for the 100 largest metropolitan areas, Abramson et al. (1995) found that the mean dissimilarity index for the poor was 36 in 1990, considerably lower than the mean dissimilarity index for blacks of 61. The unequal distribution of poor people across metropolitan space tells only part of the story; equally important is the issue of concentrated poverty. As of 1990, 5 percent of the total population of metropolitan areas lived in high-poverty areas, an increase from 3.3 percent in 1980 and 3.0 percent in 1970. However, 17 percent of metropolitan-area blacks and 11 percent of Hispanics lived in such areas (Jargowsky, 1997).4 Jargowsky (1997) documents that the number of high-poverty census tracts more than doubled between 1970 and 1990 (an increase of 132 percent), and the number of people living in them rose by 92 percent over that time period. In 1990, 18 percent of all poor people in metropolitan areas lived in high-poverty areas, but, for the black poor, the figure was 34 percent (compared with 26 percent in 1970) and for Hispanics, 22 percent (slightly down from 24 percent in 1970).

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Causes of Suburbanization Contrary to much of conventional popular wisdom, suburbanization trends are long-standing. Suburbanization in the United States can be traced back to the 1880s, with the major surge beginning in the 1920s; the decades following World War II were not unusual in their suburbanization trends (Fischel, this volume). This suggests that many of the factors cited as explanations for suburbanization, such as the federal mortgage insurance programs of the 1950s, the interstate highway system of the 1960s, and the racial tensions, fear of crime, and poor city schools of recent decades, can at best be only partial explanations. As Mieszkowski and Mills (1993:135) observe, these "are all postwar phenomena, and are mostly provincial U.S. problems. In reality, the trend toward suburbanization has been prewar as well as postwar, and has been international in scope." There are two different types of explanation for suburbanization (Mieszkowski and Mills, 1993). The first relies on the standard location model of the urban economist and involves improvements in transportation infrastructure (which reduce the costs of commuting), technological changes that allow employment decentralization, and long-term increases in household income that allow households to act on their preferences for greater space. The second class of explanations stresses "push" factors related to the fiscal and social problems of cities, such as high taxes, inadequate public schools and other government services, racial tensions, crime, and poor city amenities (1993:137). Clearly the two types of explanation are not mutually exclusive. Margo projected 1980 incomes onto 1950 household location patterns and estimated that 43 percent of suburbanization between 1950 and 1980 was due to rising income (cited in Fischel, this volume). After considering other possible causes, Fischel concludes, "it seems reasonable to guess that perhaps a quarter of Americans' move beyond the limits of central cities may be accounted for by factors other than mostly benign 'natural' economic trends." Fischel believes this residual 25 percent may be due to the second class of explanation given by Mieszkowki and Mills. There is yet another explanation, unrelated to population out-migration, whether driven by pull or push factors. Danielson (1976:15) argues that "the political separation of city and suburbs is not the product of 'natural' forces which caused the city to cease to expand and independent suburban jurisdictions to grow up around the urban core. Until the last part of the 19th century, out-migration simply resulted in expansion of the city boundaries and was not accompanied by creation of politically independent suburbs. After that time opposition to annexation increased on the part of middle-class neighborhoods at the city's edge, and state laws permitting easy incorporation and making annexation more difficult resulted in an end to city expansion." He concludes (1976:17): "The underlying cause of the end of annexation and the political containment of the city was the universal desire of the periphery for political

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autonomy from the core. This objective was rooted in class and ethnic conflict and the desire of middle-class areas for local control over their relatively homogeneous communities." Role of Local Governments in Spatial Stratification There is ample evidence that the spatial distribution of the U.S. population is not the inevitable result of market forces and technology, but a reflection of the impact of public policy, broadly construed to include choices about the structure of political institutions. Downs (1997:26) vigorously argues: "the disproportionate concentration of poor households within central cities arises from the fundamental institutional structure of U.S. metropolitan areas and of their growth processes. This structure may seem 'natural' or the result of 'free market forces,' but it is neither. In fact, other structures prevail in most of the world." Likewise, Fischel (this volume) states that where the poor live relative to the rich within metropolitan areas is an empirical question rather than an inevitable result. Similarly, Danielson (1976:1) argues that "public policies have played a central role in the development of a spatially differentiated metropolis in which blacks are separated from whites, the poor from the more affluent, the disadvantaged from economic and educational opportunity." The distinctively American political institutions that give rise to spatial patterns of residential location are local control of land use decisions, state laws permitting easy incorporation of municipalities, and a fiscal system that requires municipal governments to finance most of their local services from their local tax base (Danielson, 1976). The ease of municipal incorporation permits the creation of many local governments within metropolitan areas. The motive for incorporation is to exercise land use controls at the local level in order to exert control over the local setting. As a consequence, Americans with sufficient resources are able to influence who their neighbors are by using land use controls to raise the price of housing beyond what lower-income households can afford. In addition, the fiscal system facing local governments in the United States provides incentives to keep poor people out, since low-income households will consume more in public services than they will contribute in local taxes. As Downs describes the process (1994:19): In most U.S. metropolitan areas, residents outside the original city's boundaries establish separate communities legally independent of it. These people want separate jurisdictions in part because they do not want certain externalities affecting them that are regulated by some broad government that reflects the interests of persons living throughout the metropolitan area. . . . Many suburban residents also want to live in neighborhoods occupied primarily by households with incomes equal to or higher than their own, similar cultural values and outlooks, and similar racial or ethnic backgrounds. . . . They also fear that the proximity of lower-income households will reduce the market values of their

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homes. And a large group of low-income households within their jurisdiction might cause their local governments to raise taxes to provide the services needed by such households. Local government action permits and facilitates this spatial segmentation, and local control of land use is the critical linchpin that encourages fragmentation and thus results in economic stratification (Danielson, 1976). Although research is sparse, comparative social policy experts frequently observe that the degree of economic segregation in urban areas is much higher in the United States than in many other western nations in which land use controls are not exclusively local (Berry, 1973; Sellars, 1998). Fischel (this volume) argues that, although income segregation by neighborhood is probably inevitable, it is greatly accentuated by modern zoning. He observes: Although I regard neighborhood income segregation as likely to occur under almost any mechanism that operates without a strong dose of coercion, it must be emphasized that income segregation is greatly accentuated by modern zoning. It is one thing to observe that the rich and poor live in different neighborhoods separated by a thoroughfare, a cemetery, or a railroad track. It is something of a greater order of magnitude to observe that they live in entirely different municipalities separated by miles of low-density development or natural preserves. The latter separation surely discourages economic and social interactions that would otherwise be mutually beneficial and that are the cornerstone of a prosperous, democratic society. But zoning also plays a role in contributing to allocative efficiency in metropolitan areas. Tiebout (1956) and others (Ostrom et al., 1961; Bradford and Oates, 1974; Hamilton, 1975; Hamilton et al., 1975) contend that systems of local government in which large numbers of jurisdictions compete for residents by offering differing packages of public services result in efficient resource use. Each jurisdiction thus attracts a set of residents who have similar preferences for services. As Mills and Oates (1975:5) observe, however, "Once we recognize that the demand for public services is systematically related to income, we see that the Tiebout model implies powerful tendencies toward segregation by income level." Zoning serves as a mechanism for supporting this system. It does so by preventing lower-income residents from moving into higher-income areas with high tax bases, thus enjoying a level of services at a lower tax price than they could otherwise afford and achieving a fiscal subsidy from their wealthier neighbors (Bradford and Oates, 1974; Hamilton, 1975). There is a variety of means by which local governments are able to use land use regulation to control access to their community and to exclude lower-income and, consequently, many minority households. Exclusionary zoning techniques include requiring a minimum lot size or a minimum number of square feet for any home built on the lot, thus increasing the cost of new housing, and prohibiting

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multifamily units or apartments with more than two bedrooms. In addition, unreasonably high building code standards and strict subdivision requirements may also raise the cost of housing beyond the means of lower-income families. The recent explosion of residential community associations may also be serving exclusionary purposes. Weiher (1991:194) contends that exclusionary techniques are one part of a two-part process that results in sorting by income and race. The other part involves the role of political boundaries in providing a proxy for a set of information about the jurisdiction that provides cues to persons making location decisions. He argues that "political boundaries support the recruitment that is the complement to exclusion in urban sorting." He observes (1991:177): "If it is true that the presence of cues generates a peculiar decision-making calculus, there should be differences in the settlement patterns that characterize the United States and those that are found in other countries. Specifically, there should be a higher degree of segregation by salient characteristics in the United States. No definitive work has been done on this subject, but there is anecdotal evidence to support this hypothesis. . . . Berry (1973) comments on the relative lack of segregation by race and class in Britain and Western Europe." There is evidence that the ease of municipal incorporation promotes the creation of large numbers of local governments, a precondition for income stratification by jurisdiction (Nelson, 1990; Burns, 1994). The existence of more local governments permits households to sort themselves out by income, and research has shown that the number of local governments is associated with more income stratification. Studies by Hamilton et al. (1975) and Eberts and Gronberg (1981) demonstrate that census tracts in metropolitan areas that have numerous governments—and numerous independent zoning authorities—are more homogeneous with respect to income than tracts within metropolitan areas that have fewer governments, although research by Stein (1987) finds that fragmentation leads to residential sorting by race and perhaps education, but not income. (For a review of the empirical research on sorting, see Dowding et al., 1994.) Burns (1994) contends that since 1950 the desire to segregate by race has been more important than the desire to segregate by income as a factor in explaining the creation of new municipal governments. Employing multivariate analysis to explain variation in the incorporation of new municipalities in a sample of 200 counties, she found that the number of nonwhite people in the county had a significant and more substantial impact on incorporation than did the number of poor people. Weiher (1991) makes a similar argument and found, using analysis of variance, that segregation by race, education, and income over the period 1960-1980 came to be organized more by city than by neighborhoods within cities. He argues (1991:94) that a series of policy changes, primarily through court rulings, have made segregation by race within jurisdictions subject to legal action, but has rendered segregation at jurisdictional boundaries legally secure. With respect to the actual impact of zoning, Fischel (this volume) concludes

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that "This is an instance in which the conventional wisdom—that exclusionary zoning is a real issue—is confirmed by the evidence." He cites evidence that high-income communities almost always have more stringent zoning regulations than other communities and observes that "if market forces alone were sufficient to create exclusive communities, one would expect to see zoning standards such as minimum lot sizes to be more uniform among communities." The Value of Central Cities Central-city residence has adverse effects in many metropolitan areas in two obvious ways. First, fiscal disparities frequently impose higher tax burdens on residents and provide them with lower-quality services than would be the case if they lived in a suburb with the average area tax capacity. The result is a reduction in the income and well-being of city residents, a penalty for city living. Second, the movement of jobs from the central city to the periphery and the reduction of low-skilled jobs in the city make it more difficult for city residents to gain access to jobs and lead to the problem of spatial mismatch. A healthy central city affects the well-being of its residents. And, as discussed below, it also affects the well-being of suburban residents and the nation. Central cities have provided the agglomeration economies that have powered metropolitan growth. They have also functioned as the port of entry, socialization, and assimilation for immigrants, providing them with low-cost housing and opportunities for economic advancement. Daniel (1994:i) notes that, of the 8.5 million immigrants who arrived in the United States during the 1980s, 75 percent lived in just 16 large cities in 1990 (nearly 25 percent in Los Angeles alone and an additional 17 percent in New York). Can central cities continue to perform these traditional functions? Is the central city still viable? Do Central Cities Still Have a Competitive Advantage? The traditional rationale for the economic contribution of cities is that agglomeration economies provide a competitive advantage for firms locating in cities; they are seen to be the driving force in the development of the metropolitan economy. Agglomeration economies are cost savings to firms that result from their locating in urban areas. Such economies are of two types. Localization economies are savings that result from a firm locating near other firms in the same or related industries. Urbanization economies are economies that result when the production costs of a firm decline as the aggregate level of economic activity expands within the area. Mills and Lubuele (1997:729) cite Henderson's estimate that metropolitan-area output per unit of input increases 4 to 6 percent for each doubling of its population. These agglomeration economies traditionally occurred in the central city,

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primarily in the central business district area. According to Ihlanfeldt (1995), agglomeration economies have three causes: labor market economies, scale economies in the production of intermediate inputs, and communication economies. He observes that the last two of these clearly favor central cities. There is general agreement that agglomeration economies still exist and provide important advantages to metropolitan economies. But there is the question of whether they can now be achieved at lower densities in the suburbs. Some researchers argue that suburbanization of office development and the growth of "edge cities" (Garreau, 1991) provide the same opportunity for agglomeration economies that exists in central cities, and thus cities have lost their competitive advantage (Hicks, 1987; Hartshorn and Muller, 1987). Others contend that telecommunications advances will soon make it possible to transact business without the need for face-to-face contact, again eroding the advantage of cities. Danielson and Wolpert (1994:72) argue that a new metropolitan form is emerging in the suburbs that, by implication, reduces the significance of the central city: This new metropolis is a new urban form, the latest stage in an evolving process. . . . [T]he spreading suburbs of the new metropolis are diversified, economically robust, and ever less dependent on the city and its central business district. The vibrant world of the new metropolis encompasses corporate headquarters, new industries such as aerospace and electronics, research laboratories and health complexes, massive malls and lesser retail clusters, hotel and convention centers, arenas and stadiums, government offices and university campuses. These developments produce a sprawling landscape of low-density settlement punctuated by nodes of intense activity usually located at major intersections of radial expressways. . . . As the new metropolis evolves, the original central business district becomes one among many centers, with its own specialized activities and market niche. Muller (1997:44) observes that "globalization forces intensify and accelerate the suburban transformation of the American city. A new urban future is being shaped as fully developed suburbs become the engine driving metropolitan and word city growth." There are, however, counterarguments. First, as Clapp (1983) argues, even though telecommunication technology may permit interaction, people still may enjoy face-to-face interaction more and gain more from it. Indeed, Mills (1992) makes a distinction between ambiguous and unambiguous information, with the former inevitably requiring face-to-face exchange regardless of the state of telecommunications technology. Ihlanfeldt (1995) has examined evidence on the extent to which central cities retain the advantages of an agglomeration economy, observing that empirical research on this question has been sparse. He nonetheless cites studies indicating that face-to-face contacts continue to be an important determinant of the location of office activity. He also has reviewed evidence on the type of firms

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that locate in central cities and suburbs and concludes that "information-processing jobs are attracted to central cities, suggesting, at a minimum, that these economies exist within central cities. If not, why would firms be willing to incur the otherwise high production costs associated with a central-city location? Nevertheless, the growth of information-processing employment in the suburbs indicates that central cities may be losing their locational advantage over time" (1995:135). Indeed, a multivariate analysis of municipalities' share of employment growth for each decade from 1960 to 1990 in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City found that physical proximity to New York was of declining importance in determining employment share (Danielson and Wolpert, 1994). They observed (1994:89) that the initial comparative advantage of the densely settled cities "based upon proximity to New York City, good commuter access, and existing agglomeration of population and employment offered less attraction to firms and residents with a clear preference for lower density sites and highway and road access." These findings are consistent with the retention of agglomeration economies for activities involving face-to-face contact and information processing in central-city locations. A review of the literature by Mills and Lubuele (1997:727) states that "all recent studies conclude that inner cities [central cities] remain important and integral parts of their MSAs." Interdependence of Central Cities and Suburbs Many suburban residents appear to believe that their suburbs are functionally independent of the central city and that central-city problems do not affect them at all. This view is shared by some knowledgeable researchers as well. Hartshorn and Muller (1989:1) write: "With surprising speed in the '70s and '80s, suburbs have evolved from loosely-organized 'bedroom community' into a full-fledged 'outer city,' characterized by metropolitan-level employment and activity concentrations and functional shifts that amount to nothing less than the achievement of suburban economic, social, and geographic independence from the nearby central city that spawned these satellite settlements several decades ago." Others go so far as to argue that it is the central city that is now dependent on the suburb (Bingham and Kalich, 1996). Their evidence for this dependence is the need of the central city to supply qualified workers for its high-skilled jobs. Furthermore, at least in cities that have an income tax, the city is dependent on this suburban workforce for a substantial portion of its revenues. It can also be argued, however, that suburban residents are dependent on the city for their jobs in the city's central business districts. Indeed, most recent scholarship contends that cities and suburbs are interdependent (Ledebur and Barnes, 1992, 1993; Savitch et al., 1993; Voith, 1992, 1993, 1995; Hill et al., 1995a). Suburbs and the entire metropolitan area are affected by central cities in a

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number of ways. Ihlanfeldt (1995:125-26) suggests five sources of interdependence: "First, the fortunes of suburbs may be tied to those of the central cities to the extent that outsiders' perceptions of the region are influenced by conditions prevailing within the core. Second, because of their location or history, central cities may contain amenities that are valued throughout the region. Third, individual cities may provide a 'sense of place' that is valued not only by their residents but also by outsiders. Fourth, the fiscal problems endemic to a declining city may raise tax burdens in suburban areas and thereby retard economic development. Finally, central cities may offer unique agglomeration economies that define an important and specialized role for the central city in the regional economy." Another argument is that the fiscal problems of cities, caused by low tax capacity and high service needs, result in suboptimal levels of spending on the city's infrastructure, resulting in "deterioration in the public sector's contribution to the production function of private firms throughout the metropolitan area. Suburban firms will be adversely affected in two ways. First, because the central city serves as the hub of many critical infrastructure systems, deterioration in those systems will reduce operating efficiencies. Second, because suburban firms purchase goods and services from firms located in the central city, reductions in the operating efficiency of supplier firms will be reflected in gradual increases in the operating costs of suburban firms" (Hill et al., 1995a: 164). Hill et al. also argue (1995a: 165) that central-city fiscal problems can impose costs on the entire region if inadequate spending on education leads to deterioration in the relative quality of public education and lowers the productivity of the workforce, since central-city residents are an important component of the metropolitan labor force. One study bases its claim for interdependence on positive correlations between central city and suburban per capita income and between central-city office space and downtown office space (Savitch et al., 1993). Another study found positive correlations between both city and suburban income growth and city and suburban population growth during the 1970s and 1980s, but not during the 1960s (Voith, 1992). Voith concludes that cities and suburbs, at least since the 1970s, are complements rather than substitutes for each other—that is, that there is interdependence. Ledebur and Barnes (1992) found that change in median central-city household income between 1979 and 1989 accounted for 82 percent of the variation in change in median suburban household income over the same time period. They also report that metropolitan areas with lower disparities in per capita income between central cities and suburbs had higher employment growth between 1988 and 1991. This finding has been frequently cited with the implication that a causal relationship exists. Hill and colleagues (1995a), while agreeing that cities and suburbs are interdependent, criticize these findings on a variety of grounds. First, they argue that central cities and suburbs are simply parts of the same whole—the metropolitan

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economy—and that "to properly use correlational analysis, one must assume that the two phenomena being observed are at least separable, if not independent entities" (1995a: 149). Second, they observe the correlations are bivariate and do not control for a range of other factors that might be operating on the entire metropolitan area, causing change in both central-city and suburban income. Finally, they criticize the implication of causality and particularly the interpretation that lower disparities in per capita income between central cities and suburbs lead to higher rates of metropolitan employment growth. They argue instead that economic theory suggests that the causal relationship is likely to work the other way: that metropolitan economic growth, through tightening labor markets and therefore pulling unemployed central-city workers into employment, will lead to lower disparities in per capita income between central cities and suburbs. A study by Voith (1995) has addressed many of these criticisms through a structural equation model that relates city income growth to suburban income growth, population growth, and house price appreciation. He uses a variety of econometric techniques to deal with the problem that the correlations found in the previous literature could be spurious (the result of factors affecting both city and suburban variables) or simultaneously determined, Voith (1995) found that growth in city income results in higher growth in suburban income, house price appreciation, and population growth and that these effects on suburbs are greater for larger cities than for smaller ones. Although Ihlanfeldt (1995) questions whether Voith's methodology has adequately solved the problems of controls and causality, he nonetheless observes that, "Despite these shortcomings, Voith's results are the strongest evidence to date in favor of the interdependence hypothesis" (1995:138). Voith closes his paper by contending that (1995:21): "The statistical evidence of complementarity is important because the long-run, gradual nature of the negative effects of urban decline makes it difficult for people to observe casually, let alone mobilize support for policies to prevent urban decline. In particular, the negative impact may be unrecognized by suburban residents because the suburb is performing so much better than its declining central city counterpart. Thus, suburban residents may perceive themselves as relatively better off when compared with their city neighbors, even though their incomes, populations, and house values are adversely affected by the city decline." Building Viable Political Support for Cities Addressing the problems of metropolitan areas requires strong political support on behalf of central cities. There are two main strategies for building support for cities. One emphasizes the potential for metropolitan action through the development of broad coalitions that emphasize consensus building at the regional level across cities and suburbs. The other emphasizes the construction of majority coalitions of groups acting through the political process to further their own

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interests. Central-city interests would be at the core of such coalitions, but to be successful they would have to be extended to encompass the interests of poor and working-class suburbs and some ''out-state'' areas. Which of these approaches holds the greater prospects for success has been the subject of controversy among advocates for cities. Consensus Building Advocates of the consensus-building approach point to the emergence in many metropolitan areas of regional alliances across city and suburban and public-, private-, and nonprofit-sector lines, which incorporate a wide diversity of interests on behalf of regional initiatives; they argue that visible successes are growing (Peirce, 1993; Dodge, 1996). Critics contend that these successes, while desirable, are limited. Successes tend to occur on issues related to regional infrastructure, economic growth, and the environment, for which the primary concern is efficiency and promotion of the common good. Issues that are seen to be redistributive and controversial—that is, that affect the spatial opportunity structure and the disparities in outcomes between city and suburban residents and between whites and minority groups—are seldom dealt with effectively through metropolitan consensus-building efforts. The proponents of regional consensus building argue that the trust and relationships built by successes on less controversial issues will ultimately translate into the ability to take on more difficult problems. Political Coalition Building Others argue that ultimately successful action on behalf of cities will depend not on consensus created at the metropolitan level, but on the construction of majority coalitions in which the winners outvote the losers, particularly at the state legislature level. For example, Myron Orfield, who is both a researcher and a practitioner, argues for a coalition based on self-interest among state legislators representing central cities, inner suburbs, and outer middle-income residential suburbs with a small commercial or industrial tax base (Orfield, 1997). This grouping could provide the core of a majority coalition on behalf of tax base sharing, regional housing opportunity, increased state aid, and other policy measures beneficial to central cities. Such a coalition, aided at times by cooperation with legislators who may have nothing directly at stake, constitutes a majority of state legislators in Minnesota and, Orfield contends, in other states with large metropolitan areas as well. He writes (1997:12-13): Though the notion of building a total win-win regional consensus is appealing in theory, in practice sustained regional reform clearly demands the formation of enduring coalitions that can weather intense opposition and controversy. . . .

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[I]t has become clear that Twin Cities suburban communities are not a monolith with common experiences and political needs. The emergence of these patterns has created a metro-majority political coalition between the central cities, which make up one-third of the region's population, and the inner suburbs and middle-class developing suburbs, which make up another third. . . . On the merits, these middle-income, blue-collar suburbs are the largest prospective winners in regional reform. To them, tax base sharing means lower property taxes and better services, particularly better funded schools. Regional housing policy means, over time, fewer units of affordable housing crowding their doorstep. The appeal of Orfield's argument is that majority political coalitions based on self-interest and built around class-based concerns that will yield favorable returns to cities are politically possible, at least in terms of the numbers involved. The problem is whether the "objective" self-interests that Orfield identifies will be recognized and acknowledged and, even if they are, whether they will be powerful enough to overcome the class- and race-based concerns that exist among the city's potential coalition partners. Even in Minnesota, where enlightened attitudes and the relatively low proportion of minorities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area suggest a highly propitious environment for a self-interest, class-based coalition, the relatively modest success thus far gives pause. Other types of coalitions beneficial to cities are also possible. In Oregon, the state legislature passed Portland's Urban Growth Boundary with the support of a coalition that included farmers, environmentalists, and urban interests (Abbott, 1997:28-29). The housing element of Oregon's state land use program has been consistently supported at the state level by environmental groups, city interests, and, after initial opposition, business and developer groups (Knapp, 1989). Efforts to affect the spatial distribution of population in metropolitan areas through breaking down exclusionary zoning or fostering inclusionary zoning are more likely to succeed when contested at the state level than at the metropolitan level (Knapp, 1990). This is because the strength of interests differs significantly at the state and local levels. Residential and homeowner groups are particularly strong at the local level, but less so at the state level. As Knapp observes (1990:44), "Environmentalists and developers, who are outnumbered at the local level, are more effective at the state level, where organized interest groups are more effective and it is difficult to mobilize exclusionary interests." He also admits that "It is difficult . . . to predict whether an environmentalist-developer coalition can be formed in other states." Notes 1   Metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are defined as follows: "Each MSA must include at least: (a) one city with 50,000 or more inhabitants, or (b) a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area (of at least 50,000 inhabitants) and a total population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New England). Under the standards the county (or counties) that contains the largest city becomes the central county

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    (counties), along with any adjacent counties that have at least 50 percent of their population in the urbanized area surrounding the largest city. Additional 'outlying counties' are included in the MSA if they meet specified requirements of commuting to the central counties and other selected requirements of metropolitan character (such as population density and percent urban) (U.S. Bureau of the Cencus, 1996a:937). An urbanized area is "an area consisting of a central place(s) and adjacent urban fringe that together have a minimum residential population of at least 50,000 people and generally an overall population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile of land area" (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1994:G-54). Unlike metropolitan areas, which must contain entire counties, urbanized areas are defined with reference to density. 2   Holding 1960 metropolitan-area boundaries constant, the proportion of the U.S. population living in these areas actually fell slightly, from 63 percent in 1960 to 62 percent in 1990. 3   Metropolitan areas are divided into primary metropolitan statistical areas (PMSAs) and consolidated metropolitan statistical areas (CMSAs). CMSAs consist of two or more contiguous and closely related PMSAs. As of June 1995, there were 271 metropolitan areas, consisting of 253 PMSAs and 18 CMSAs. The 18 CMSAs contained within them a total of 73 PMSAs. The total number of PMSAs was therefore 326. 4   Increases in the proportion of the population living in high-poverty areas may result from an increasing number of census tracts being classified as high-poverty areas as nonpoor households move out, from an increasing incidence of poverty, or from an increasing propensity of the poor to move into such areas.