Implications of Suburbanization for Metropolitan Political Organization

Thomas M. Scott

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2 Scopus citations


The development of politically independent suburbs began in earnest at the turn of the twentieth century, but their role in the metropolitan governmental complex is still being established. Efforts to consolidate and otherwise integrate fragmented local governments through massive political reorganization in the 1950s and early 1960s were essentially unsuccessful. In the meantime, other less gran diose devices for achieving a measure of metropolitan governmental coordination have flourished: special districts, shifting particular functions from municipalities to other larger scale governments, and inter-local agreements. The evidence is increasingly clear that suburbs persist because they provide life-style opportunities that are important to a large part of the populace but are not otherwise available through urban political institutions. Suburbs are increasingly beset, however, by the same kinds of local governmental problems that have long afflicted central cities, and their political independence does make long-term metropolitan planning and coordination very difficult. Major governmental reorganization of the metropolis does not seem likely, and recent changes in federal and state policies are modifying suburban political autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1975


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