Robert J. Waste's Independent Cities Essays

1780 Words 8 Pages
In his book, Independent Cities, Robert J. Waste describes the major problems that cities are facing and how these are exacerbated by the lack of voice that American city’s have on the political stage. He states that cities have lack of representation in congress and the presidency, which often prevents their issues from receiving national attention. Waste describes failed federal policies that have attempted more top-down approaches and he also comments on state policy methods and their more successful bottom-up focus. In order to successfully eradicate the permanent crises that are tormenting entire regions, national, state and local level governments in conjunction with the citizenry need to work together to fuel a cultural …show more content…
Waste describes that whereas in the past, the majority of the American population lived and worked in cities, now many individuals are living in suburbs and working on the edge of the city. He finds that this lack of connectivity decreases civic engagement and duty, as well as voter turnout (Waste 6). Additionally, waste argues that the permanent crisis issues are becoming too costly with 8% of the gross national product being spent on the permanent crisis, which is $2,000 per capita (20). Waste identifies that cities experiencing this prolonged stress are “adrenaline cities” and that most American cities are in this position (19). He states that this “power surge” and “hyper-alertness” towards impending danger is meant to be a temporary state and cannot be sustained (Waste 11). Currently, permanent crises in cities are not receiving the political attention that they necessitate and the voices of the suffering have been silenced for too long.
Consequently, federal policies have been extremely inconsistent in addressing these permanent crises in cities, though this is where the majority of Americans live. He states that this is partially because the U.S. presidency and senate has been dominated by suburban politicians who have neglected addressing urban issues and rather garnered votes from white, middle-class individuals. This is because it became more practical for presidents, such as Bush and Reagan to gain political support in areas such as the South and

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