Nation’s Metropolis describes how the national capital region functions as a metropolitan political economy. Its authors distinguish aspects of the Washington region that reflect its characteristics as a national capital from those common to most other metropolitan regions and to other capitals. To do so, they employ an interdisciplinary approach that draws from economics, political science, sociology, geography, and history.
Royce Hanson and Harold Wolman focus on four major themes: the federal government as the region’s basic industry and its role in economic, physical, and political development; race as a core force in the development of the metropolis; the mismatch of the governance and economy of the national capital region; and the conundrum of achieving fully democratic governance for Washington, DC. Critical regional issues and policy problems are analyzed in the context of these themes, including poverty, inequality, education, housing, transportation, water supply, and governance.
The authors conclude that the institutions and practices that accrued over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are inadequate for dealing effectively with the issues confronting the city and the region in the twenty-first. The accumulation of problems arising from the unique role of the federal government and the persistent problem of racial inequality has been compounded by failure to resolve the conundrum of governance for the District of Columbia. They recommend rethinking the governance of the entire region.
While many books are concerned with the city of Washington, DC, Nation’s Metropolis is the only book focused on the development and political economy of the metropolitan region as a whole. It will engage readers interested in the national capital, metropolitan development more generally, and the growing comparative literature on national capitals.
Royce Hanson is Research Professor at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy.
Harold Wolman is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at George Washington University.
"This book has created new knowledge and has practical public policy applications...All cities have their unique characteristics while also sharing many common challenges with urban communities across the nation. This is the story of the capital region. But the approach taken here can guide researchers in those communities. Nation’s Metropolis proves the case for the case study."
~Journal of Urban Affairs