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Cities and Complexity

Cities and Complexity
Making Intergovernmental Decisions

First Edition

Volume: 3

November 1998 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Planners hate uncertainty. The objective of their work is to devise a course of action that will reduce uncertainty on a public scale. However, complicated intergovernmental systems often make their work complex and difficult. The planning profession is founded in quandries: How can we know the future? What is the public interest? How can we know which values are right? What is the relationship between means and ends? This book addresses the mismatch between the assumptions of planning and the actual operations of the intergovernmental system Basing her work not only on empirical research but on years of personal experience in complex governmental agencies (specifically HUD), Karen Stromme Christensen presents a new theory of the underlying structure and dynamics of the U.S. intergovernmental system. It is designed to help planners and policy makers clarify the obstacles to effective action on behalf of the public good. Moreover, it suggests ways to preserve and restore the strengths of federalism and to adjust aspects that have become counterproductive.

Planning in a Complex Intergovernmental System
Competing Theories of the US Intergovernmental System
Interactions among Governmental Institutions
Dimensions Structuring the Intergovernmental System
Sectoral Dynamics
Institutionalized Technological Elaboration and Effects on Area Interests

Delusions of Certainty and Their Consequences for Expectations of Government
Conducting Public Policy in Conditions of Uncertainty
Conclusions for the Intergovernmental System
Conclusions for Decision-Making Practice

". . .successfully untangles the complicated intergovernmental system in the U.S. and suggests ways in which planners could take effective actions within the system on behalf of the public good. . .it is a must-read for planning students, practitioners, and policy makers." 

Sandeep Kumar
Ryerson Polytechnic University

"Christensen's book is an unpretensiously solid, well reasoned, and worthwhile addition to planning theory. Her astute, nuanced view of government is a welcome corrective to the planners' too common view of the 'public sector' as a simple, unitary entity. . ." 

Scott Campbell
University of Michigan

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ISBN: 9780761911654
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