The Twenty-First Century City: Resurrecting Urban America
(Regnery Publishing, 1997, Rowman & Littlefield, 1999)
by Stephen Goldsmith
After decades of decay and decline, America’s cities are coming back. Innovative mayors from both political parties are leading the resurgence by tearing down the failed big-government bureaucracies of the past and using free-market approaches to create growth and opportunity.
In The Twenty-First Century City, Mayor Stephen Goldsmith describes this urban revival and provides a road map for other cities to follow. He explains the philosophy that unites the new breed of mayors and offers a description in rich detail of how he turned the Indianapolis city government into an internationally acclaimed model for urban governance.
The Twenty-First Century City is the first book to describe the sweeping changes taking place in city halls across America. Goldsmith introduces readers to:
- Union workers who cut their own budget to compete for contracts to provide services;
- Neighborhood leaders who organized midnight drug marches to drive out crack dealers;
- A private company that reduced the operating cost of the city’s wastewater treatment plant by 44%;
- Church leaders who quietly work miracles in tough urban neighborhoods;
- Former welfare recipients who have rejoined the workforce through simple reforms.
Candid about failures as well as successes, Goldsmith shows how other cities can replicate the Indianapolis approach. Detailed case studies explain how Indianapolis negotiated the largest airport, wastewater, and military base privatizations in United States history.
Goldsmith argues that adopting a few basic principles can help any city prepare for the demands of the twenty-first century. He writes that cities must stop asking for federal handouts, reduce the size of government, break up government monopolies, push authority down to the grassroots, and nurture value-promoting institutions. The Goldsmith approach is being adopted with success by reformers around the country.
Goldsmith also issues a warning about some current trends. He cautions that devolution may not necessarily work in the best interests of cities, that welfare reform has not gone nearly far enough, that our criminal justice system is not prepared for the coming increase in violent juvenile crime, and that education reform remains the biggest challenge to improving the quality of life in cities.
This book comes at a time when America’s cities are demanding more responsibility for solving their own problems. Goldsmith is a leader among a small but growing group of reform-minded mayors that inludes Democrats John Norquist of Milwaukee, Edward Rendell of Philadelphia, Richard Daley of Chicago and Michael White of Cleveland. The new mayors also include Republicans Rudolph Giuliani of New York, Richard Riordan of Los Angeles, Bret Schundler of Jersey City and Susan Golding of San Diego.
The Twenty-First Century City is for public managers searching for innovative ideas; students of urban policy wanting to learn from an experienced practitioner; conservatives in search of an articulate urban agenda; and all those who love the diversity and energy of American cities and want to rescue them from decline.
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CITY
“We recommend his book. In our ever-increasingly complex and technical world, his ideas are the basic good stuff of good government.”
– Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 17, 1998
“For those whose mantra includes ‘change,’ this is a book that should not be missed.”
– Dennis Byrne, Chicago Sun-Times, April 1, 1998
“What makes Goldsmith’s book invaluable is his account of the perverse effects of federal policy- regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans occupy the White House.”
– Fred Siegel, The Weekly Standard, January 26, 1998
“Easy and interesting reading that will help…citizens better understand [Goldsmith] and his cutting-edge philosophy.” – Andrea Neal, Indianapolis Star, November 1, 1997
“In two terms as mayor, Mr. Goldsmith has produced a small urban miracle in the nation’s 12th largest city.” – Mona Charen, The Washington Times, June 29, 1998
“Since he took office in 1992, Goldsmith, a classic fiscal conservative, has systematically dismantled the bureaucratic behemoth that was the city government of Indianapolis.”
– Norah Vincent, New York Press, April 1, 1998
“[Goldsmith is] the man generally recognized as the most effective practitioner of privatization of government services in the United States.” – The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 17, 1998
“He [has] saved his city millions of dollars by hiring private companies to do public work.”
– The News-Tribune, November 9, 1997
“Every time I listen to him I become recommitted to giving second thoughts to doing what we do better.” – Massachusetts State Revenue Commissioner Mitchell Adams, The Boston Sunday Globe, November 23, 1997
“[Goldsmith is] credited with beginning the turnaround of troubled American cities.”
– Terence Samuel, St. Louis Dispatch, October 24, 1997
“[Goldsmith is] turning the tables on traditional big city governance.”
– Paul Shepard, Plain Dealer, October 24, 1997
“One of a new breed of big-city mayors who have defied ideology and partisanship in an effort to reform government.” – Jon Jeter, The Washington Post, September 21, 1997