In their recent book, “The New Localism,” Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak argue that cities and counties will be tested as never before in the coming years. They will need to innovate and reform—to pursue new strategies for growth and finance—in a fiscal environment dominated by rising health-care and pension costs. In these circumstances, the quality of metropolitan governance will matter more than ever.
“We’re at a stage of growth in our country and around the world where cities are the vanguard of problem solving,” said Katz. “The federal government, when it functions, is a health insurance company with an army.”
Mayors must first recognize that we are in the midst of a paradigmatic shift in urban governance and problem solving that is catching up to an established fact on the ground: Cities are networks of public, private, and civic institutions that power the economy and shape critical aspects of urban life. This “new localism” is pragmatic and solution-oriented, and by design includes exemplary leadership across sectors and segments of society.