Region Forward Blog

The Morning Measure: Can states adapt to support metro economies?

Mar 23, 2011


Jennifer Bradley at Brookings had an interesting piece yesterday on the role that U.S. states should play in the 21st century. Bradley argues that states which acted as stalwarts against federal encroachment in the 19th century and as areas for policy experimentation in the 20th should redefine their roles to become “enablers and supporters of metropolitan economies” in the 21st century.

This argument is in line with the push by Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program for the U.S. to focus attention on the 100 largest metro areas in the country – the dominant engines of economic growth – which generate 75% of U.S. economic output. Bradley argues however that such a role would be anathema to the established principle that all local governments are “creatures of the state” and any powers that local governments enjoy are granted to them by the willingness of the state.

As we pondered back in December the idea that metro areas are becoming the dominant economic entities in the U.S. (and around the world) we’re interested to know whether you find Bradley’s ideas intriguing? Realistic? You can read more about Bradley and her colleagues’ thoughts on the future of metropolitan America in a recent article in Democracy.


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