In his book with David J. Barron, City Bound – How States Stifle Urban Innovation, Harvard Law professor Gerald Frug argues that in the U.S., state law determines what cities can and cannot do to raise revenue and control land use – but that state law is often outdated and rooted in an unjustified distrust of local decision making. To avoid the difficulty for cities to formulate a coherent vision for their future, Frug calls for a new structure of state-local relations that would enable cities to take the lead in charting the future course of urban development.
Edesio Fernandes, visiting fellow at the Lincoln Institute, rejoins with the example of Brazil, where local government is given a much greater level of legal and political autonomy – a model of decentralization that guides financial resources. Also in Brazil, Fernandes notes, there has been an increasing recognition that the promotion of inclusive and sustainable urban development requires a different form of legal-institutional articulation among local, state, and federal governments.
A conversation with Frug and Fernandes, “Legal-institutional designs supporting urban planning and management in federal systems: US and Brazil,” will take place Thursday 8:45 to 10:30 a.m. at Lincoln House, co-sponsored with the Affordable Housing Institute and made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Register online here .