Here is the story on the web project:
When I emptied out my office in 2004, I found that the Cornell Library’s archives, officially the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) would take them as part of its already large planning collection (papers of some 150-200 planners). But rather than my personal collection, I named it thematically, as the “Progressive Cities and Neighborhood Planning” collection. I gave them 10-12 boxes, and we had a student assistant that summer, Janine Cuneo, who had experience working in an archive at Notre Dame, who catalogued them. Later, a number of other people gave more boxes: Derek Shearer gave Santa Monica documents, Lee Webb and Ann Beaudry gave documents from the 1970s Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies; Peter Meyer and Bob Kraushaar had things from London and other UK cities; students had done theses – Crystal Launder on Burlington, VT, Jonathan Thompson collected documents and did oral history in Austin and Detroit; Sean Bennett on Binghamton, Sarah McKinley on CDCs in Newark, Meredith Schmidt on one in Brooklyn; 3-4 others. Later some other items came in unasked-for as people heard about the collection. Ken Reardon joined in –he had just taken over as Chair of CRP here — thinking to participate more fully later and also donated some important things, like transcripts of interviews.
At one point an archivist — Virginia Krumholz in Cleveland — argued that it was wrong to collect documents and bring the to Cornell – they should stay in the city where they were created. I was persuaded of this, and tried to promote local archives – a bit in Burlington in 2006 when Crystal Launder organized a trip up there to collect reports and other materials and we gave a box of these to their library; another big effort in Berkeley in 2009-10 when Kathryn Kasch and later Karen Westmont, a former student here, organized meetings for six months until they suspended operations. I also tried to get something started in Binghamton, with no result. In any case the theory is that cities need to cultivate their own histories, that these are resources to be valued; but the focus is progressive history. Mainstream institutions will take care of mainstream ideas, but the progressives need a special effort – so let’s do that.
Next thing, I put together this website, starting in 2005 but now about to go through it’s third revision. The second, in 2011, added a “blog” – really a series of short essays commenting on this whole project. It is nowhere near complete, because each city, each CDC or other neighborhood planning effort needs some attention; but also there is much to add, and we need not be restricted to cases we already have collected for – we can write about parallel efforts elsewhere – we have now heard of work in Sicily, an oral history effort in Johannesburg, and Reardon has begun correspondence aiming at starting collections in Patterson, NJ and elsewhere. The point is to add to our collection of knowledge, not just our collection of documents (though it would be nice to get copies of these as well).
The website is www.progressivecities.org, with two main ssections: the “BLOG” and “THE PROJECT”; and short sections on “THE COLLECTION,” “BIBLIOGRAPHY,” AND “CONTACT.” The “CONTACT” section is partly about how people in different places can work on their own archives, and in principle there are contact addresses for people in each city. We only have 2-3 people listed so far, and my purpose in this next phase is to add people.
I would like to see people work on this website from their own places and perhaps with special angles that cut across places. What might these be? Initially, take a look at the website and see if this is something you fit with, could see doing. Think about it – see if it appeals to you and you have time. Look at the CONTACT page and see who is listed there. Write us and we can talk about it. I’d like to get about six other people involved in this website and project, so I’ll see what I can do over the next few months.
Here are some other web addresses:
The “finding aid” for the “Progressive Cities and Neighborhood Planning” collection at RMC. –
Also, we are putting a couple of volumes from the Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies online, “Readers” put together for meetings in Madison in 1975 and Austin in 1976. Classics, I think:
Most of this website has been online for several years. Ken Reardon and I started it with lots of student help in 2005 after I had donated ten boxes of papers, documents, interview transcripts, etc., from research on “progressive cities” starting with that for The Progressive City (1986).
Reardon, meanwhile, had been continuing his very active work with neighborhood groups in New York City, East St. Louis, New Orleans, South Memphis and elsewhere – and through them we hope to display an array of information about community work: organizing, advocacy, planning and implementation.
We had static pages until 2011, when we did some mild updating and added the BLOG section, the occasion being the publication of Activists in City Hall: The Progressive Response to the Reagan Era in Boston and Chicago (2010) and my efforts to get it noticed through radio interviews, short articles and lectures (see “Events” for a partial list). These prompted me to write a series of short comments and essays published as “blogs” mainly in the spring of 2011.
The occasion for this posting is the release and posting last week of two volumes of “Readers” prepared for the Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies tied to that organizations initial national meetings in 1975 and 1976 in Madison,, WI and Austin TX. These postings, with over 100 news articles, memos, reports represent the early outpouring of activists who had seen the possibilities of entering local and state governments — ways to implement ideas for social change that had arisen during the 1960s. These items, part of the collection on Progressive Cities and Neighborhood Planning at Cornell University Library’s Devision of Rare and Manuscript Collections are basic to that collection and to the other volumes on which we are basing this website.
The Library did a press release that gives the links to these items, as well as the “finding aid” that displays the much larger collection.
What viewers can expect over the next several months is a series of new postings on this site, reflecting additions to the RMC collections. These will include further items on Boston, Chicago and other places represented in Activists in City Hall; and also a concerted effort to populate the “Neighborhood Planning” part of the site based on efforts by Ken Reardon and Sarah McKinley. More from these presently.
Sam Pizzegati writes a post in the Institute for Policy Studies website Too Much [ http://toomuchonline.org/rich-poor-gap-be-gone/ ] that the London borough of Islington, population 200,000, noticing the extreme gaps between high and low incomes in Britain and the U.S., tried to do something about it by setting up a Fairness Commission. Last July a newly elected borough council majority faced austerity budgets imposed by the Conservative Parliament and, urged to replace social spending with volunteerism, thought of legitimizing volunteerism by also imposing “fairness.” To them, that meant confronting inequality head-on. “Fairness” would require an Islington “with less income inequality.”
This insight led to a series of actions and possibilities:
- The borough could take the lead in re-structuring its own salary scale: it would “level down the top” so that a new borough manager would be hired at a significantly lower salary than his predecessor.
- It could also “level up the bottom”: lowest paid workers would get a “living wage” of at least $3.50 an hour more than the UK official minimum.
- Having set an example, the council would also ask private employers to address inequality, first by making public their own salary scales. “Employers that keep their top-bottom pay differential within 20 to 1 – plus pay at least a “living wage” would earn a “Fair Islington” designation they could display publicly.
Pizzegati reports that other localities have begun to follow Islington’s lead, with Liverpool and York also establishing Fairness Commissions. Islington’s Commission co-chair sees these as part of a “campaign for greater equality that will ‘have to involve the whole country and be sustained for ten or twenty years.”
Islington’s initiative is reminiscent of a time that U.S. cities confronted inequality. In Hartford, CT, populist city council leader Nick Carbone sued suburban towns in the 1970s over their reluctance to allow low cost housing construction, and many cities passed rent control laws. In the 1980s these sentiments continued in some places, perhaps in more sophisticated ways. In Boston, after rent control was rolled back in the state legislature, mayor Raymond Flynn made affordable housing a priority, pushing through a “linkage” rule that tapped downtown real estate development for an affordable housing trust fund and paving the way for other measures. In Chicago Harold Washington pursued a neighborhood based local economic policy that focused on saving industrial jobs with the aim of buttressing working class incomes. Burlington VT used other devices to stabilize housing prices for low and middle income families – as much as twenty percent of the housing stock.
These precedents raise the possibility that local level action – Fairness Commissions or other devices — could force cutbacks in the tide of inequality in the United States. Certainly there is a case for it. By the onset of the “great recession” in 2008, inequality had reached levels not seen in the United States since the 1920s. The biggest bite came out of the middle class, including the loss of factory jobs as the nations productive capacity went overseas through a wave of plant closings beginning in the 1970s.
And research suggests that inequality hurts not only those at the bottom of the income and wealth ladder, but also those at the top. Pizzigati mentions the influence of recent studies linking inequality to general presence of disease and other pathologies, to the point where Islington was persuaded it could make the “Fairness Commission” appeal not simply to the have-nots, but to the upper reaches of society.
This seems appealing, but it will not happen unless someone can figure out how to deal with the obstacles, caveats:
- None of these past initiatives in the United States have caught on generally and spread. They remain isolated in small cities like Burlington, or mainly caught in time, not lasting past the 1970s and 1980s. They are a counterpoint to the increasing inequalities in wealth and income in the United States generally.
- Majorities in Chicago and Boston seem to want to put the memories of Harold Washington and Ray Flynn, the confrontations of race and class associated with the tangible steps each took to deal with inequalities in those cities, behind them. Remarkable as Washington’s mayoralty was, there was practically no mention of it during the recent election of Rahm Emanuel in Chicago. Inequality, generally, has been mentioned as infrequently as these icons of progressivism. Something basic is at work here.
- If Islington is able to sell “fairness” it must be counting on an ability to blunt the effects of the class warfare carried out by reactionary elements in the UK. In the U.S. these elements remain mobilized, much as public spirited officials and citizens may want to speak to the common good.
Still, one can take heart in what Islington has started. Islington may seem a far cry from events and possibilities in the United States, but perhaps something like their Fairness Commission” is worth a try. We will want to track it further, along with any echoes emerging in the United States.
Stephen Barton wrote a nice review of Activists in City Hall (in Progressive Planning – Spring 2011) in which he leveled a reasonable criticism:
There are definite weaknesses in the book. . . No effort is made to reconcile the suggestion that Berkeley’s turn toward neighborhood issues was a turn away from progressive principles with the book’s strong argument for the importance of a neighborhood movement in sustaining progressive city government in the larger cities.
If neighborhood organizations often sought to exclude minorities and poor people, how was the book justified in advising mayors to support them?
In fact, progressive mayors often opposed exclusionary policies, and consistently opposed giving the power to exclude to neighborhood organizations. In Boston, Ray Flynn had supported neighborhood councils, but almost never supported giving them a veto power over development projects – the one exception was a neighborhood organization in Roxbury, a largely minority neighborhood, over a proposed city project, which he later backed away from. Susan Fainstein has documented neighborhood councils in Minneapolis, a case where those in the wealthier neighborhoods exhibited an exclusionary bias. Harold Washington never supported neighborhood councils, despite proposals from activists.
Yet there were occasions where neighborhoods could have done with more power to constrain city hall, especially over city-supported projects they thought would adversely impact them by either (a) destroying the fabric of established neighborhoods as in the case of freeway construction or even industrial projects that held few job prospects for neighborhood residents. This was common in most cities: Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, the University of Illinois expansion in Chicago’s near Westside in the 1960s, and the North End urban renewal project in Boston in the 1950s were notorious. And some “progressive city” cases occasioned neighborhood protest: Southside Chicago residents were displaced by the new White Sox ballpark under Washington and Sawyer; while Roxbury residents organized in protest over a plan to provide large scale housing and commercial space in an area that became known as “Parcel 18.”
Thus neighborhood control is an issue that has more than one answer, and it is not simply dealt with by the advice that progressive mayors should “support neighborhood activists. Something more nuanced is in order. The material for such policies may be found in Activists in City Hall, but what it lacks is clear guidelines and qualifications. Here are a few:
1) Recognize that city hall power is inherently a blunt instrument.
2) On the other hand, neighborhood response, what it does with any delegation of power, can be similarly crude.
Activists in City Hall makes the case that progressive cities delivered a product in the 1980s. Chicago and Boston were progressive when they tackled inequality head-on. Boston established “linkage” – channeling developer contributions into an affordable housing trust fund. Chicago instituted a group of industrial retention initiatives, saving high-paying manufacturing jobs around the theme that economic development meant “jobs not real estate.” Smaller cities were also on a similar track. Burlington, VT created neighborhood councils and eventually a nonprofit infrastructure that kept 17-20 percent of the city’s housing permanently affordable; and Santa Monica’s strong rent control transferred millions of dollars from landlord profits into tenant pockets. There are many other cases.
But readers asked: can we use any of this today? Well — the 1980s are history. Some of it is usable, some of it may not fit. But the deeper lesson is not simply product, but process — the sequence of steps by which progressive activists and mayors got the capacity to enact the policies they made. Progressives need to know that, and move ahead step by step. Cases varied, but the following happened in most:
- A long gestation, in which activists gained experience outside of city hall: managing organizations, organizing around various causes, and pressing the city – sometimes successfully, often not – to enact ordinances or create institutions.
- The decision to run candidates and contest seats. This could be a difficult decision among activist groups, whose own solidarity depended in part on their sense of opposition to city hall – it could seem like a change, not just in tactics, but in their own identities, to offer themselves as candidates or to support them.
- Operating from minority positions on city councils. Progressive electoral coalitions often won minority positions on city councils, as a precursor to winning control later: this was not a prominent feature in Boston or Chicago; but it was in some of the smaller cities.
- Operating from within the city bureaucracy. Cleveland’s Norman Krumholz is the most prominent and successful example, and arguably created favorable conditions for Dennis Kucinich’s mayoralty in 1977-79 and for continuation of many city opolicies after Kucinich’s defeat. Progressive administrators were identifiable in a number of other cities in the 1980s and 1990s – leading to moderately progressive city policies, if not spectacular successes later.
- Progressive governments developed the capacity to relate positively to neighborhood groups. This could be an uneven process over a long period of time and was fraught with doubts and setbacks, including the perception that city hall, hiring neighborhood activists, was stripping community based groups of leadership while co-opting their potential value as an independent force. But community organizations could be a vital support group and constituency. Boston administrators pointed with pride at the development of capacity to produce affordable housing in over a dozen community organizations. Chicago’s Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRI) and Burlington’s Center for Neighborhoods were exemplary cases.
- In many cases, progressives, upon election to office, gained acceptance simply doing good government reforms – benefiting from the failings of their predecessors in city hall. Harold Washington took advantage of a court decision that abolished patronage jobs by his public statements that “the machine as we knew it, is dead.” Sanders’ treasurer discovered funds that had been hidden in obscure accounts. Flynn’s director of administrative services fouind ways to reduce the city’s budget problems by going to national finance, breaking the custom of dealing eexclusively with Boston banks.
- Deposed political factions and parties could go to extremes in outright public resistance; but when progressive incumbents finally prevailed, they cemented their policies. Harold Washington faced intransigent opposition from Chciago’s city council majority for two and one-half years of his first term. Bernie Sanders was unable to get council approval for major appointments for at least a year after winning Burlington VT’s mayoral election in 1981. Both mayors received public support later.
- There were tipping points in city hall administrative and political momentum – identifiable in hindsight, if not at the time. Washington gained credit for initiating an infrastructure bond issue two years into his term, slightly favoring opposition wards. Several council seats turned over to support afterwards, and other programs – particularly a neighborhood oriented economic development policy, gained public support. Sanders forced support for a Community and Economic Development Office after a year, convincing the business leadership that his policies were in their interest. Ray Flynn’s leadership in Boston coalesced when he was able to press a linkage program on downtown developers, thus creating a climate of acceptance for city intervention on affordable housing issues.
- Progressives, after such points of change, often put in place a concatenation of policies – as if a dam had broken. In Boston, Flynn’s linkage policies were at least as important for the initiatives in inclusionbary zoning, tenant protections and changes in bank lending practices, as for the relatively modest affordable housing funds derived from the ordinance itself. Similarly, Chicago’s iondustrial retention initiatives were many-faceted; and there were many such groupings of related policies in other places.
- “Progressive” does not mean “radical.” In few or no cases did progressive governments fail to compromise with other interests that would otherwise – and would later – oppose them. In office, mayors needed to respond to most of the major political forces in the city. Most typically this meant real estate developers. Flynn supported downtown real estate development while extracting linkage payments. Sanders convinced downtown businesses that he favored at least some of their development goals, while insisting that waterfront development would ensure public access and low income peoples’ housing cosdts be protected. In general, progressives sought balance, not a clean slate.
- Progressive coalitions, having secured majorities and mayoral offices, occasionally faced succession issues when mayors left office voluntarily or were defeated buot the coalition remained viable and sought to reassert control at a subsequent election. In these cases the successor mayors, having won election, were able to impose a more relaxed leadership style: on could see this in Burlington, Berkeley, and Santa Monica; in some ways in Boston in the case of Tom Menino.
- Progressive control ended, but there were aftermaths. In Chicago, progressive government ground to a halt after Washington died at his desk in 1987, but it took several years. Eugene Sawyer, interim mayor for 18 months, kept most of Washington’s appointees in place. Richard M. Daley, who won a special election in 1989 after vowing to end most of Washington’s approach to governance, continued certain key policies like the Planned Manufacturing Districts until the mid-1990s when he turned toward a real estate development focus financed by tax increment financing – even then, his emphases were more widely distributed around the city than had been the case prior to the 1980s.[i]
- Also interesting is the case of long-term persistence of progressive government – especially in Burlington, VT; also the California smaller cities: Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica. Some of these have gotten attention, others deserve more.
[i] In Burlington, VT a relatively seamless transition occurred, as three progressive mayors held office with the exception of a two-year period in the 1990s. I have less certain information about other California cities: Santa Cruz maintained progressive control more or less uniformly; something close to that happened in Berkeley and Santa Monica, CA where there were interruptions, but the progressive majorities and mayors tended to maintain a strong presence and were in power more often than not. In Boston and Chicago Flynn’s resignation (1993) and Washington’s death in office (1987) resulted in the essential ending of those administrations – Tom Menino retained control and put his personal stamp on a mayoralty that adapted to progressive forces in Boston, while not taking the lead Flynn had. Chicago experienced a more gradual fall-off in progressiveness – Interim mayor Eugene Sawyer continued Washington appointees for 18 months; Richard M. Daley maintained important initiatives in planning and economic policy for several years before moving toward a real estate development orientation in the mid-1990s. In Cleveland and Hartford, progressivism seemed to end badly: Kucinich defeated after two years in Cleveland, Carbone after ten in Hartford followed by a very uneven sequence – including four years of progressive but largely unsuccessful city council control in the 1980s.
I’ve done a series of lectures the last three months about Activists in City Hall, increasingly less about Boston and rather focusing on Chicago’s local “industrial policy.” These lectures were at the University of Illinois -Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Baltimore City Planning Department, the Urban Institute in Washington DC, and finally back at Cornell.
With the considerable stimulus offered by the encounters, questions and comments in each of these, I am starting to put the presentations into written form. One that is now taking shape — far from finished — is a paper with Robert Giloth to be presented at the Urban Affairs Association meeting in New Orleans later this week. I’ll put a short version below; you can see the longer version by hitting the link above, and we’d love your comments.
Manufacturing and National Urban Policy: 1980s Chicago (Brief Version)
Pierre Clavel and Robert Giloth
In the 1980s Chicago was a “progressive city.” Harold Washington won office in 1983 as the city’s first African American mayor and as a reform mayor who was dedicated to reducing the inequalities in wealth and power that had persisted under a notorious political machine government; what is less remembered is that Washington pursued redistributive objectives by incorporating neighborhood activists and their ideas.
Chicago’s approach to progressive policy focused on industrial structure: it sought to retain manufacturing jobs, typically higher paying than other blue collar sectors, in the face of regional and national decline. On the surface, this was less successful than some of the other cities’ efforts, as manufacturing jobs continued to decline. But Chicago’s economic development policy was a profound challenge to the practice of the day, for at least these reasons:
- Chicago’s policy approach countered inequality by trying to change the structure of the local economy – or at least slow down the loss of the manufacturing base. Rather than abet the real estate boom, it articulated “jobs not real estate” as the centerpiece of city economic policy; and it sought not just any jobs, but to “build on the basics” – manufacturing jobs.
- Unlike most cities, the Washington administration sought a new and different political constituency — a coalition of manufacturers and their neighborhood based labor force.
- It engaged research that challenged the underlying economic arguments and dogma of the period: that of the ‘natural’ shift of the nation’s activity from manufacturing to services sectors.
- It tested and challenged not only local and regional, but national economic policy.
- These local and national arguments and political issues have their echoes in 2011 as the nation tries to dig its way out of a serious recession and recreate the balance between manufacturing and other sectors in the economy.
Q2 – What is “progressive” in the Progressive City?
[Posted by Pierre Clavel -- Adapted in part from Activists in City Hall (2010) and The Progressive City (1986) [i] ]
What do we mean by “progressive?” Some have asked this, complaining that the term is vague and undefined. Maybe so, but here is a working definition: progressives worry about inequality and advocate steps to reduce it; and they try to open up government to wider citizen participation.
Progressives advocate redistribution. They would tax the rich and give to the poor. In Santa Monica in 1979, Santa Monica enacted rent control that redistributed millions from landlord profits to middle class pockets. In 1984 Boston enacted “linkage” rules that assessed downtown real estate to create an affordable housing trust fund, and Chicago enacted policies to retain manufacturing establishments that paid higher wages than the service establishments that might have replaced them. And Burlington, VT supported the Burlington Community Land Trust which, along with other measures, eventually resulted in protecting 17-20 percent of that city’s housing stock from price inflation.
Progressives also opened up city hall and government decision to public view and citizen participation. Berkeley and Santa Monica put city council meetings – previously hard to access – on the radio. Chicago adopted inclusionary city hall meeting practices – one official later said she would “never again be comfortable in meetings that did not include black, brown and female faces.” Boston and Burlington experimented with neighborhood councils. And many progressive city policies were not just openly arrived at within city hall; some originated in grass roots forums and organizations. Chicago’s industrial retention policy either originated in or received a critical push from a neighborhood forum that created the Chicago Workshop on Economic Development in 1982, resulting in a platform and collective sentiment that development should mean “Jobs, not real estate.” Boston’s linkage and neighborhood councils proposals received key support from propositions in a referendum in 1983, placed by the populist organization Massachusetts Fair Share.
Progressives were not purists – they wanted to establish their policies within governments, permanently if possible – and to that end were capable of compromise that got attacked from right and left. In Chicago, Harold Washington faced with demands from the White Sox baseball team for city support for a new stadium, concluded he had to comply even at the cost of damage to the surrounding neighborhood or be faced with electoral defeat. (His economic development commissioner, Robert Mier, later claimed some compensatory benefits from the city locking in luxury box revenues for neighborhood housing). In Boston Ray Flynn, a strong advocate of rent control to protect the city’s working and middle class population from escalating housing prices, finally settled for “linkage” – supporting downtown real estate developers’ plans even at the cost of pressure on housing prices in return for relatively modest contributions to an affordable housing trust fund. This arguably broke the back of business resistance to city interventions for affordable housing, but this result was n9ot obvious at the time and Flynn took criticism from both sides.
Experience was always uneven, but redistribution and participation can be seen as a “frontier,” conceptually. It is possible to diagram the way cities find their way toward neighborhood organizing, to progressive administration, or both. I did this in The Progressive City — an earlier work based on research in five smaller cities and from the standpoint of electoral coalitions and leadership that had captured control of council majorities or mayoralties: Hartford. Cleveland, Santa Monica, Berkeley, and Burlington. I defined a “progressive city” as the intersect of two dimensions, redistributive and participatory reforms initiated by the city government. For those places, one could see a progression traceable across the diagram. These “progressive city” cases seemed to exist toward the outer frontier in the diagram compared to the “normal city”, which was closer to the origin. However they also varied along the curve. Some of these cities seemed to have more success with a series of administrative reforms carried out against a background of civic ferment, but not necessarily involving a well developed pattern of neighborhood participation. This could be a problem, as they stalled with significant redistributive efforts not balanced by participation: Dennis Kucinich in Cleveland, and Nicholas Carbone in Hartford were each defeated in part due to the opposition or apathy of the neighborhood organizations in 1979. Others started in a more participatory manner. Perhaps these deviated further from the “normal” on both dimensions, eventually. Burlington was the clearest example, but there were significant efforts in Berkeley and Santa Monica as well.
The text above is written as if “progressive cities” are a city hall thing: mayors initiate redistributive programs, and city hall allows participation. A more nuanced conception of “the progressive city” would include the observation that all or most of the innovations characterizing these places had roots in a social movement that found a common cause in neighborhood issues. This shifts the focus. Not only was there a dual problem from the standpoint of the progressive city administrator and political leadership; but there were also two standpoints from which to see the history of these cities: that of the city government on the one hand, and that of the movement and its successor institutions outside of the city government.
Conceptually, the revised approach is only partly different from the earlier one. Redistribution and participation remain the salient dimensions of variation among cities. But the institutions – and our view of them — become more deeply layered. Instead of the city government being the main focus, we now look at the government along with the neighborhood organizations that support or oppose it. Instead of “redistribution” we might expand that dimension to include “administratively developed” to recognize that success in redistributive policy is partly a matter of having the administrative wherewithal to implement a redistributive concept. Instead of the government-focused term, “participation,” we will signify the less fragile institutions represented by CDCs and the like, by referring to a developed versus undeveloped “social base.” The new diagram, converted to a set of boxes, would look as follows:
This diagram suggests a starting point for a review of the succeeding chapters. As in the earlier diagram, the “normal city” is toward the lower left while the “progressive city” is to the upper right. In the course of time it would seem that a city could move through the boxes. But how did cities move toward the progressive corner?
A first set of observations would refer to the engine of change: what is the social base for movement along either dimension? Or rather, what did the progressive city activist think was the social base? [ii] Next, how did places move – i.e. from one part of the diagram to another? If there was a movement base, how did either sort of institution – neighborhood group or city administration – develop, what were the trajectories, taken separately?
Then there is the question of the relationship between the two dimensions. Here the story becomes harder to disentangle, and many things are only partly known at best. In part, the problem is that the development is uneven and incomplete. Few of the “progressive” city governments in the United States were still in power at the end of the 1990s, though they remained a powerful metaphor for future developments and might yet return to prominence in some cyclical fashion. For example, elements of the Washington and Flynn programs continued under their successors, Richard M.Daley and Thomas Menino in Chicago and Boston. Progressive governments remained in control in Berkeley and Santa Monica, though their programs had moderated; and something similar happened in Santa Cruz and Madison. In Burlington, the Progressive Coalition had developed further. Hartford and Cleveland, having defeated its radical leadership in 1979, witnessed revivals in lesser respects. Even in Cleveland, where progressive government ended dramatically with Kucinich’s defeat in 1979, there was a comeback over a twenty year period as neighborhood based housing organizations strengthened and city hall operated more as a complement to coordinated neighborhood leadership. In that sense Cleveland was now more thoroughly a progressive city. [iii]
[i] Clavel, Pierre. The Progressive City: Planning and Participation, 1969-1984. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1986); and Activists in City Hall: The Progressive Response to the Reagan Era in Boston and Chicago. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010).
[ii] I am using the idea of the “social base” in the sense meant by Philip Selznick, meaning the external clienteles and support groups that can be mobilized to affect the internal dynamics of an organization or public agency. See Selznick, Philip, Leadership in Administration (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957).
[iii] Yin, Jordan.. “The Community Development Industry System: A Case Study Of Politics And Institutions in Cleveland.” Journal of Urban Affairs 20 (Summer 1998): 137-157.