Healy is a former executive vice-president of the National League of Cities, and his history of urban government centers on...

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THE NATION'S CITIES: Change and Challenge

Healy is a former executive vice-president of the National League of Cities, and his history of urban government centers on the establishment (in 1924), consolidation and activities of that lobbying organization. It is, in a way, a self-serving account leading to the inevitable plea for federal revenue-sharing and increased authority (over housing, schools, etc.). But considering the entirely visible plight of our ""dying"" cities, Healy's mild, modest, responsible-sounding voice is hard to ignore. His tack is to explain historically, step by step, the growth of urban problems with the emphasis gradually shifting from crime control to the quality of life. Technological breakthroughs of the '20's like the streetcar, automobile and elevator imposed paving, traffic regulation and zoning difficulties. Municipal involvement in relief to the unemployed dates from the Depression '30's. The '50's black and white rural migration north exacerbated poverty and overcrowding in inadequate housing. The subsequent spread of the metropolis into the hinterlands created overlapping jurisdictions and increasing administrative tangles. (For another view on reallocating bureaucratic power, see Susan Torrence's Grass Roots Government, KR, p. 627.) Among our crises of the '70's are air pollution, sewage treatment, airport construction. The lesson of Christopher Norwood's About Paterson (KR, p. 169) was that federal, state, and county governments have manifest delegated powers, but the disenfranchised city is their unfairly manipulated pawn. Healy is no muckraker but submits, on behalf of the mayors and councilmen of our overwhelmingly urban population, a list of recommendations for change. One hopes he will be heard in Washington.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1974