Jane Jacobs on the Organization of Municipal Government

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Although Jane Jacobs acknowledges the existence of metropolitan areas; her main unit of analysis for local politics is the center-city municipality. She is interested in how it can be decentralized, both to districts and to neighborhoods. Because she is suspicious of large organizations, she is not an advocate of expanding the size of center-city municipalities or of creating elaborate schemes for metropolitan government. Because she believes that city-regions should be more politically autonomous does not mean that she believes that each should have only one municipal government. Jacobs never confuses the municipality as an institution of local government with the city-region as an incubator of economic activity. She never suggests that the economic fate of cities is determined by municipalities, however they might be organized. By keeping the importance of municipal government in perspective, her work helps us resist arguments that central-city municipalities must be enlarged in size so as to enable their respective cities to compete globally.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0735-2166.00067

Affiliations: The University of Western Ontario

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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