Citistates: How Urban America Can Prosper in a Competitive World
a book by Neal R. Peirce and John Stuart Hall and Curtis W. Johnson
(our site's book review)
The growth of decentralization and the growing power of tribes, states, and citistates are addressed. (A citistates is a sovereign state consisting of an independent city and its surrounding territory.) The book outlines how urban America can prosper in a competitive world. Knowledge will be king—the dominant resource. The author feels that nation-states are losing their power to innovate and transform society, but citistates will take up the slack: “The citistate is the most dynamic form of human settlement today. We are just beginning to sense its full latent power. But it may be years before we grasp its limits, geographic or political.”
In discussing Phoenix in particular and civic culture in general, the author states that “. . . we are convinced that healthy civic culture always flows upward from personal association, not downward from higher governments or any other authority.” He doesn’t fall into the social engineering or political salvationism traps. He specifically says we need to ditch social engineering and pursue the re-creation of community at the grassroots.
Quit looking to social engineering superheroes and rely on local community efforts
He warns members of affluent suburbs that their economic future is imperiled by overall social decline. He’s telling Reich’s symbolic analysts, in effect, that secession has a long-term cost that the gated community residents and well-off suburbanites had better take seriously. He says the task is to build caring communities where individuals sense community responsibility as well as individual rights.
Secession has a long-term cost that the gated community residents and well-off suburbanites had better take seriously