Do zoning ordinances limit inner city prosperity? Where will political support for increased federal spending for the poor come from? How much money spend on the "War on Poverty" was wasted? Why is inner city education so poor? How would inner city work programs be implemented? Will this summer's welfare reforms help or hurt the inner city? Is a "race war" on the horizon? How can inner cities be reconnected to the rest of Amercian society? Viewer comments And, finally, the Online NewsHour asks:
In your book, you argue that federal policies, directly or indirectly, lead to the concentration and isolation of the poor in the inner city and that this isolation cuts the innner city poor off from growing suburban economies. What is the best way to reconnect the inner city, both socially and economically, with the rest of America's metropolitan areas?
Dr. Wilson responds:
The best way would be through proposals that achieve the objective of city-suburban cooperation. As pointed out in "When Work Disappears," these range from proposals to create metropolitan governments, to proposals for metropolitan tax base sharing (currently in effect in Minneapolis/St. Paul) and collaborative metropolitan planning.
The real challenge is to get Americans to recognize and appreciate the need for city-suburban cooperation. There is a growing body of research that the greater the gap between the central city and the surrounding suburbs, the more that the entire metropolitan region suffers economically. As I pointed out in "When Work Disappears," efforts to promote city and suburban cooperation will not benefit cities alone. There is mounting evidence that cities and suburbs are economically interdependent. The more central cities are plagued by joblessness, dysfunctional schools, and crime, the more the surrounding suburbs undergo a decline in their own social and economic fortunes. Suburbs that experienced increases in income during the 1980s tended to be linked to a thriving urban center. In the global economy, metropolitan regions continue to compete for jobs. Suburbs that will remain or become competitive are those with a well-trained workforce, good schools, a concentration of professional services, first-class hospitals, a major university and research center, and an efficient transportation network to link executives with other parts of the United States and with countries around the world. However, many of these elements cannot come solely from suburbs. They require a viable central city. It is important for Americans to realize that city-suburban integration is the key to the health of metropolitan regions and to the nation as a whole.