As The Daily Circuit discussed in August, the Twin Cities are really a single metropolitan area with an identity crisis. Writer Jay Walljasper suggests calling the area "MSP," even though that is now our airport code.
Now another writer suggests that a little confusion over the Twin Cities' identity may be a good thing. The National Journal's Michael Hirsh explains that by not being identified with one particular thing or industry, Minneapolis-St. Paul (or MSP) has developed a stronger, more diverse regional economy. As a result, MSP can take its place among the modern "city-states" that are becoming the real economic engines of the country.
Hirsh says that while Congress can fail to pass legislation, cities must still operate and political leaders must work together, regardless of ideology, in order to govern. An effective city-state mayor might be able to get more done than a deadlocked Congress and a hamstrung president.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MODERN CITY-STATE:
• The Nation's Future Depends on Its Cities, Not on Washington
Ironically, given the nature of our high-tech, super-connected age, the future will look more and more like the city-states that ruled the world for millennia, from the days of Athens, Sparta, Carthage, and Rome, and that were last dominant 500 years ago, in such places as Venice and Florence, before the formation of most modern nation-states. Today, the shining example is Singapore, the city-state of 5.2 million people that, all by itself, has become an Asian tiger. The city-state of the future will not be sovereign, of course, but instead will act largely independently. "What we are experiencing is a metro-centered driving force of change. This is the center of the economic universe," says James Brooks, program director of the National League of Cities. "The United States is not one national economy but a series of smaller metropolitan economies." ... The future, in other words, is going medieval. (Michael Hirsh, National Journal)
• Wanted: A Modern, Global Mayor
In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that cities, suburbs and towns will need to grapple with these and other difficulties largely without help from the federal government, which is mired in partisanship and barely able to accomplish the most basic tasks, like passing a budget. ... In other words, mayors can no longer be content to be good managers of public services. Instead, they must step into the void and engage networks — within the city, across the country and around the world. (Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley, for Brookings)