The New City-States

This classic report by David Morris examines the changing role of the municipal corporation in overall planning and development, and presents strategies for citizens to spur economic development based on local self-reliance.

“From the hills of Seattle to the flatlands of Davis, from the industrial city of Hartford to the universty town of Madison, cities are beginning to redefine their role in our society,” begins this important essay.  For Morris the new role should should include inducing the widest distribution of productive capacity.  New technologies make possible a more self-conscious and organic city. Local self-reliance becomes a strategy that embraces economic, environmental, and political goals. Morris argues that we have had far too much government and far too little governance.  Government is bureaucratic. Governance is democratic.  Communities can design their future. The new city-state emerge.

“For those of us who believe that cities are not mere passive places but are active agents for change…this book is a must… full of ideas and hope.”

– George Latimer, former Mayor of St. Paul, MN.

“Morris has pulled together the basis for discussing one of the most difficult to live with cities, those immense social and physical systems that we have created with only partial attention to working details.”

RAIN Magazine

“Morris’ answers to the complex problems facing American cities these days are…unusual and creative.”

Spokane Spokesman Review

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David Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR's distinguished fellow. His five non-fiction books range from an analysis of Chilean development to the future of electric power to the transformation of cities and neighborhoods.  For 14 years he was a regular columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. His essays on public policy have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington PostSalonAlternetCommon Dreams, and the Huffington Post.