chapter  Chapter 1
43 Pages

The Metropolitan Frontier

WithDaniel J. Elazar

Since the opening of the metropolitan-technological frontier, population growth, social change, economic development, and political reform all have been centered in the metropolitan areas of this nation. The political revolutions in the cities of the prairie and in the nation’s other metropolitan centers may someday be viewed as the most substantial and far-reaching American manifestations of the postwar “age of revolutions” that has characterized world history since 1945. The original and classic American frontier was, of course, the land frontier opened by the very first English settlers on these shores in the early seventeenth century. The great migration to the suburbs was simply one aspect of the new metropolitan frontier. The urban-industrial frontier lost its primacy in the Great Depression. At the local level, the major beneficiaries of the metropolitan frontier have been cities in the 10,000 to 100,000 population range; the medium-size ones and their immediately smaller counterparts, many of which are on their way to medium size.