The Woodrow Wilson Center Press
Cities without Suburbs: A Census 2000 Update
Cities without Suburbs, first published in 1993, has become an influential analysis of America's cities among city planners, scholars, and citizens alike. In it, David Rusk, the former mayor of Albuquerque and now an international speaker and consultant on urban policy, argues that America must end the isolation of the central city from its suburbs in order to attack its urban problems.
Rusk's analysis, extending back to 1950, covers 522 central cities in 320 metro areas of the United States. He finds that cities trapped within old boundaries have suffered severe racial segregation and the emergence of an urban underclass. But cities with annexation powers——termed "elastic" by Rusk——have shared in areawide development.
This third edition is among the first books of any kind to employ information from the 2000 U.S. census. While refining his argument with this new data, Rusk assesses the major trends of the 1990s, including the perceived rebound of central cities, the impact of Hispanic and Asian migration, the growing similarities of older "inner-ring" suburbs to central cities, and the emerging influence of faith-based movements. New recommendations take account of growing restrictions on cities' annexation powers, even in the southwestern United States, and of new opportunities for federal shaping of home mortgage programs and urban planning processes. Rusk's conclusion stresses cities' growing experience with building political coalitions in pursuit of development and growth.
What People are Saying
"The evidence that Rusk has marshaled here makes a clear and cogent case that the survival of many American cities depends on making city and suburb one.--Witold Rybczynski, New York Review of Books
"Every mayor, every governor, every county executive, indeed anyone who cares about our great but ailing cities ought to read it."--John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press
"This book is MUST reading. Rusk makes his argument concisely, logically, and forcefully."--John C. Lowe, Journal of the American Planning Association
Introduction: Framing the Issue
I. Lessons from Urban America
Lesson 1: The real city is the total metropolitan area — city and suburb.
Lesson 2: Most of America's Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians live in urban areas.
Lesson 3: Since World War II, urban growth has been low-density, suburban style.
Lesson 4: For a city's population to grow, the city must be "elastic."
Lesson 5: Almost all metro areas have grown.
Lesson 6: Low-density cities can grow through in-fill; high-density cities cannot.
Lesson 7: Elastic cities expand their city limits; inelastic cities do not.
Lesson 8: Bad state laws can hobble cities.
Lesson 9: Neighbors can trap cities.
Lesson 10: Old cities are complacent; young cities are ambitious.
Lesson 11: Racial prejudice has shaped growth patterns
Lesson 12: Elastic cities "capture" suburban growth; inelastic cities "contribute" to suburban growth.
Lesson 13: Elastic cities gain population; inelastic cities lose population..
Lesson 14: When a city stops growing, it starts shrinking.
Lesson 15: Inelastic areas are more segregated than elastic areas.
Lesson 16: Major immigration increases Hispanic segregation.
Lesson 17: Highly racially segregated regions are also highly economically segregated regions.
Lesson 18: Inelastic cities have wide income gaps with their suburbs; elastic cities maintain greater city-suburb balance.
Lesson 19: Poverty is more disproportionately concentrated in inelastic cities than in elastic cities.
Lesson 20: "Little boxes" regions foster segregation; "Big Box" regions facilitate integration.
Lesson 21: "Little boxes" school districts foster segregation; "Big Box" school districts facilitate integration.
Lesson 22: Inelastic areas were harder hit by "deindustrialization" of the American labor market.
Lesson 23: Elastic areas had faster rates of non-factory job creation than inelastic areas.
Lesson 24: Elastic areas showed greater real income gains than inelastic areas.
Lesson 25: Elastic cities have better bond ratings than inelastic cities.
Lesson 26: Elastic areas have a higher educated workforce than inelastic areas.
II. Characteristics of Metropolitan Areas
The Point of No Return
Cities without Suburbs
III. Strategies for Stretching Cities
Three Essential Regional Policies
Diminish Racial and Economic Segregation
Control Urban Sprawl
Reduce Fiscal Imbalance
Metro Government: A Definition
State Government's Crucial Role
Township States vs. County States
Encourage City-County Consolidation
Potential Impact of City-County Consolidation
State Action To Facilitate Consolidation
Improve Annexation Powers
Limit New Municipalities
Create Regional Partnerships
A Word on County Government
Summarizing the State Regional Reform Agenda
Federal Government: Leveling the Playing Field
Federal Policy – Back to the Future?
Slowing Urban Sprawl
Reversing Economic Segregation
Building Grassroots Coalitions
Chapter IV. Conclusions
Appendix: Central Cities by Elasticity Category