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The Entrepreneurial City: A How-To Handbook for Urban Innovators

Newly-elected mayors and others interested in urban policy need look no further than The Entrepreneurial City to learn what America’s new breed of innovative mayors have done in recent years to improve the quality of life in their cities. The Entrepreneurial City includes essays from some of these “supermayors” and other urban policy experts on seven topics: Managing City Finances, Improving Education, Reducing Crime, Cutting Regulation, Increasing Economic Development, Welfare, and Civil Society. These essays list between five and ten successful policies in bullet format, followed by two or three brief paragraphs explaining the policy and why it could work in other cities.

New York’s Rudolph Giuliani, Chicago’s Richard Daley, Philadelphia’s Edward Rendell, Indianapolis’s Stephen Goldsmith, San Diego’s Susan Golding and Milwaukee’s John Norquist are among the mayors contributing essays to this book.

Names, phone numbers and email addresses of people who administered these programs are also provided so that mayors and other interested parties can contact directly those who can help them implement their ideas.

The Entrepreneurial City also includes over 20 case studies of successful programs from other cities, names and phones numbers of hundreds of firms helping cities nationwide, and lists of suggested reading on each topic. The Entrepreneurial City is a comprehensive guide to successful urban policy, making it an indispensable resource for anyone who cares about the future of the American city.


Mayor Stephen Goldsmith

For 200 years, America built great cities and our citizens flocked to them. Industrialization brought with it urban centers that were places of limitless opportunity, and despite pockets of poverty, urban neighborhoods sprang up as centers of civic involvement and homes to our communities of faith. The divide between the working poor and the middle class was often a property boundary, not entire neighborhoods or city lines. Strong families, religious organizations, and schools worked together to instill a sense of unity and a shared set of values. At their very hearts, cities were the first step in search of the American Dream.

Sometime in the early 1970s, things began to change. It was as if the ghost of Horace Greeley had reissued his admonition to “head west, young man.” Except this time, it was not only west, but every direction: north, south, east, and west, anywhere that was beyond the boundaries of America’s major cities. Perhaps most troubling, it was not only young men, but entire families who led this migration to our suburbs.

As cities rapidly lost their population, tax revenues—the lifeblood of any government—fell dramatically, and businesses began to follow their consumers to the suburbs. Crime increased in our deteriorating neighborhoods, which all too often were characterized by empty, decaying buildings. At around the same time, the federal government sent in a host of occupying forces: counterproductive welfare programs, public housing initiatives, and a “war on poverty,” all of which simply exacerbated the plight of our cities. As a result, both literally and spiritually, our cities became empty shells of the boundless opportunity they once offered. “All of America’s cities are on greased skids,” wrote University of Pennsylvania professor Theodore Hershberg. “What differentiates one from another is the angle of descent.

It was precisely this type of free fall in which many of today’s mayors found their cities in when they came to office during the 1990s. Our concern for the direction of our cities crossed party lines, and many of us found that despite our political differences, the isolation that cities felt from shouldering the main brunt of the blame for the nation’s social problems was a remarkably unifying force. We saw one another as fellow foot soldiers in a war that pitted us not only against poverty and the forces of urban decay, but also against our own state and federal governments. As we approach the twenty-first century, I am proud to say that we have finally made significant progress toward reestablishing the American city as a vibrant, attractive, and diverse place to live and work.

In fact, the American city is once again in fashion. One look at the references made by candidates in this year’s local elections and the early attention of many of the candidates for president shows that the spotlight has moved from a focus on the failure of America’s cities to many of the amazing success stories that we have achieved.

“Candidates for the White House in 2000 are looking to cities for support—and answers,” read one headline. Terence Samuel, the St. Louis political commentator, suggested that “America’s cities, left for dead and long held up as failed and unsalvageable models of cumbersome, inefficient government, are suddenly emerging as admirable blueprints for the future.” The Economist profiled our nation’s mayors by saying that “city mayors have greater power and influence than ever before,” even quoting Mayor Paul Schell of Seattle, as properly saying that cities are “no longer the poor dependents of the federal government.” Perhaps the greatest testament came from the American people themselves, who, in a Council on Excellence in Government poll, reported that they trusted their local government more than any other form of government.

Additionally, new concerns expressed by suburbanites, many of whom fled our cities over the past 30 years, about “urban sprawl” indicate a renewed interest in the urban environment’s future. Suburban residents now clearly understand the stake that they have in stabilizing the core of the regions in which they live.

The political effect of this resurgence has been to encourage highly capable people to consider running for local offices. That is why a number of mayors and urban policy experts have collaborated with the Center for Civic Innovation to produce this primer on the major issues and challenges facing America’s cities in the next century. Our goal with this urban-issues briefing book is to increase the number of local officials in both parties committed to innovative solutions to urban problems and to provide a resource that will be relevant across the broad range of issues and enormous variety of circumstances that affect America’s cities.

For years, the Center for Civic Innovation at the Manhattan Institute has been committed to moving urban issues to the forefront of our national dialogue and erasing the predominant mindset that heavy-handed government solutions should direct that dialogue. As CCI has recognized, the new breed of successful mayors do not want handouts from Washington; these mayors want the freedom to solve cities’ problems with innovative ideas and visionary leadership.

When first elected, the mayors contributing to this briefing book all started with a clear and coherent philosophy of innovative government, incorporated good ideas, and put them into action. They have notched many successes, racked up some failures, and learned a great deal along the way, all of which is chronicled in the pages that follow. The purpose for including these experiences in our briefing book, as Winston Churchill repeatedly advised, is that as leaders, “the further backward you can look, the further forward you can see.”

The challenges that America’s cities will face in the twenty-first century will undoubtedly be daunting. The prospect of exploding child abuse, juvenile crime, and teen pregnancy, along with deteriorating public schools, is sobering. The mobility of wealth and continued political pressure will prohibit mayors from raising taxes to fund even the most important services. Finding a permanent solution to dilapidated and insufficient public housing may present one of the greatest challenges to inner cities, and taking preventive, cost-effective measures to protect the environment will be crucial to future generations.

Recent studies have also touted the success of federal welfare reforms. Yet be certain that the mandate for city governments to address issues related to poverty has not subsided. In the coming years, cities will be called upon to sustain the current levels of economic growth, to create permanent, high-paying jobs, and to continue to provide viable alternatives to the culture of dependency spawned by failed welfare programs. The challenge becomes even more difficult as many low-income residents turn to local government for solutions to the current national health-care dilemma.

Yet no amount of meaningful government reform will sustain the ascendancy of our urban areas without the support of active neighborhood-based organizations, vibrant communities of faith, and strong families. While government can punish criminals, it cannot engender respect for human life or property. Government can require work in exchange for public assistance, but it cannot instill a work ethic. Government can collect child support, but it cannot make parents care for their children—let alone keep parents together or prevent out-of-wedlock births. No amount of concrete, no number of police officers, and no amount of spending can create a city that works if its citizens are not actively involved in the decision-making process. In Indianapolis, we have been so concerned with forging partnerships with our community groups that the number of neighborhood and community associations has grown by 300 percent since I took office.

Over the past eight years, in addition to the many successes experienced in America’s urban areas, I have witnessed the amazing transformation of my own city. Unemployment is at its lowest level in years, crime rates are lower today than when I took office, and perhaps most important, we have helped stimulate the creation of nearly 47,000 jobs and $7 billion worth of private investment.

The renewal of the American city is not complete. Despite our successes, in Indianapolis and in other major cities across the country, we can do better yet. That is why we still need talented, dedicated individuals to implement and advocate innovative solutions to urban challenges. As current and future leaders, we can strive to provide the highest quality of life for those residents and businesses that do call urban America their home. By doing so, we can ensure that America’s cities will continue to serve as shining examples to the rest of the nation for years to come.

Table of Contents

Managing City Finances: Doing More for Less
Mayor Stephen Goldsmith
Case Study 1—Improving Your Window to the World: Private Management of Airports
Case Study 2—Activity-Based Costing: Making Sure the Price Is Right
Case Study 3—Paying Less for Prisons
Mayor Edward G. Rendell
Case Study 4—Competition Reduces Sewage Treatment Costs
Case Study 5—Better Roads for Lower Cost
Adrian Moore and Wade Hudson
Directory of Experts
Additional Resources
Suggested Reading

Improving Education: Creating Better Schools
Mayor Richard M. Daley
Case Study 6—Privately Funded Voucher Programs: Giving Kids a Chance
Case Study 7—The Potential of Charter Schools: South Boston Harbor Academy
Mayor John O. Norquist
Case Study 8—Increasing After-School Education: San Diego’s “6 to 6” Program
Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli
Case Study 9—Private Firms Building Public Schools:The Houston Independent School District Model
Case Study 10—High Achievement through Private Management: The Edison Example
Directory of Experts
Additional Resources
Suggested Reading

Crime: Making Citizens Safer
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
Case Study 11—Crime Control for the Twenty-First Century: JNET
Case Study 12—Reducing Crime through Community Involvement: Boston’s Ten-Point Coalition
Case Study 13—Stopping Violent Gun Crime: Richmond’s Project Exile
Directory of Experts
Additional Resources
Suggested Reading

Economic Development: The Wealth of Cities
Mayor Bret Schundler
Mayor Bill Campbell
Case Study 14—City of Oakland Cluster Strategy
Michael Porter
Case Study 15—Louisville Industrial Networks Program
Directory of Experts
Additional Resources
Suggested Reading

Welfare: From Welfare to Work
Jason Turner
Case Study 16—Helping Welfare Recipients Get Jobs for Good: America Works of Baltimore
Case Study 17—Providing Job Skills through Work Experience:
                         Philadelphia’s Transitional Work Corporation
David R. Riemer
Directory of Experts
Additional Resources
Suggested Reading

Housing: Turning Hope into Homes
Mayor Michael R. White
Howard Husock
Case Study 18—Home Ownership for All: Habitat for Humanity
Case Study 19—Housing for the Poorest: San Diego’s Single-Room-Occupancy Hotel Program
Directory of Experts
Additional Resource
Suggested Reading

Regulation: Cutting Red Tape
Mayor Susan Golding
Clint Bolick
Case Study 20—Moving Up the Ladder: Deregulating Denver Taxicabs
Case Study 21—The Right to Earn a Living: Deregulating African Hairstyling in the District of Columbia
James Seif
Case Study 22—Turning Brownfields to Dreamfields
Case Study 23—Putting Brownfields to Work: Pennsylvania Land Recycling Program
Sam Staley
Case Study 24—How Markets Can Reduce Sprawl: Removing Minimum Lot-Size Mandates
Case Study 25—Private-Sector Urban Development: Enterprise Zoning Ordinance
Steve Hayward
Directory of Experts
Additional Resources
Suggested Reading

Mediating Institutions: The Little Platoons
John DiIulio, Jr.
Case Study 26—Faith Moving Mountains: The Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church Story
Don E. Eberly
Case Study 27—Putting Civil Society to Work: Indianapolis’s Front Porch Alliance
Robert L. Woodson, Sr.
Directory of Experts
Additional Resource
Suggested Reading


Center for Civic Innovation.


by Mayor Stephen Goldsmith


The Entrepreneurial City is available available from AMAZON.COM

The Entrepreneurial City.


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