For the past three decades, the federal government has targeted the poorest areas of American cities with a succession of antipoverty initiatives, yet these urban neighborhoods continue to decline. According to David Rusk, focusing on programs aimed at improving inner-city neighborhoods--playing the "inside game"--is a losing strategy. Achieving real improvement requires matching the "inside game" with a strong "outside game" of regional strategies to overcome growing fiscal disparities, concentrated poverty, and urban sprawl.
In this persuasive book filled with personal observations as well as his trademark mastery of census statistics, Rusk argues that state legislatures must set new "rules of the game." He believes those rules require regional revenue or tax base sharing to reduce fiscal disparity, regional housing policies to ensure that all new developments have their fair share of low- and moderate-income housing to dissolve concentrations of poverty, and regional land-use planning and growth management to control urban sprawl.
State government action, Rusk argues, is particularly crucial where regions are highly fragmented by many competing city, village, and township governments. He provides vivid success stories that demonstrate best practices for these regional strategies along with recommendations for building effective regional coalitions.
A Century Foundation Book