Compromises are ways of opening the door to change by reducing the objections of interest groups. They are at the heart of decision making in city halls and are the closest thing in politics to an art form. Here’s what reporters should know about how compromises come about . . . and why.
Perhaps the most underanalyzed but important part of local government is the city council. The key is knowing how much councils are shaped by their form of government and election processes. Here’s a look at how council members work with mayors, city managers, and one another, and how these habits are influenced by structure and representation. Don’t worry: There are some good story ideas here, too.
The best leaders see unnoticed assets, find ways of making these assets greater and far more apparent, and bring others along on the journey. Cities need an army of such people, but at some times and in some places, just one will do. Here’s how one leader did all of that and changed his city in four years’ time.
How does local government work in other countries? A friend from England explains how towns and larger governments divide responsibilities there . . . and why they have so many elected officials.
As we’ve grown in recent decades in our knowledge of how cities work, we’ve lost our understanding of how city politics works. As a result, we have a greater storehouse of what ought to be done, but less and less knowledge of how to do it.