Local Self-Reliance for Cities

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance for cities works to help urban residents gain greater control over their lives through the use of low-technology, decentralist tools and concepts.

| July/August 1982

  • Local self-reliance for cities
    We believe that city dwellers and country folks alike can profit from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's admirable efforts.
    PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ELENATHEWISE

  • Local self-reliance for cities

Local Self-Reliance for cities helps urban residents through the use of low-technology, decentralist tools and concepts. 

Local Self-Reliance for Cities

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance works to help urban residents gain greater control over their lives through the use of low-technology, decentralist tools and concepts. Because we believe that city dwellers and country folks alike can profit from the institute's admirable efforts, we've made this "what's happening where" report by the ILSR staffers one of MOTHER's regular features. If you would like to know more, you can have a free catalog of ILSR's selection of books and pamphlets by sending the institute a self-addressed, stamped envelope . . . or become an associate member for a tax-deductible $35 per year ($50 for institutions) and receive both periodic reports on the institute's work and a 20% discount on all the group's publications. Write to ILSR,Dept. TMEN, Washington, D. C.

America's cities are aging ungracefully. For example, more than 50% of Boston's water supply is lost through leaky pipes . . . two out of every five bridges in urban centers across the nation are in need of major rehabilitation . . . and the poor quality of our cities' streets has become a major financial drain on metropolitan taxpayers.

Furthermore, a growing number of cities have exhausted their environmental capacity to handle the billions of pounds of waste they pour into the air, soil, and water. Sewage treatment systems are seriously overloaded (in fact, hundreds of homeowners in St. Paul find their basements flooded with raw sewage after every hard rainfall), and landfills are loaded to capacity. Why, one enterprising metropolis even tried to send its garbage by railroad to a rural town in Ohio and its sewage by barge to Haiti! Both of these projects were stopped, however, when the communities on the receiving end discovered the plan and howled in protest.



And while the costs of waste disposal and general urban maintenance increase, cities find their traditional sources of funds drying up. Cutbacks in aid from Washington, tax revolts at home, and an increasing reluctance, on the part of Wall Street, to lend money to urban communities all complicate the life of big- and small-city mayors alike.

Necessity is called the mother of invention, though, and the reduced level of outside support has forced metropolitan managers to look more to their own resources. Employing political authority, ingenuity, and modern science, some cities are beginning to become more independent.






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