Policy Study

Revitalizing Our Cities

Perspectives from America's New Breed of Mayors


The winds of change are blowing strongly through city halls across America. A new breed of mayor, inspired by the successful streamlining of American business, have signaled the death of business as usual in urban governance. These mayors are at the forefront in effecting the most fundamental transformation of city hall since the Progressive Era ushered out Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall.

The outline of a new urban agenda is beginning to emerge: strengthen neighborhoods, make streets safer, shrink bureaucracy, privatize services, lower crushing tax burdens, cut business regulations, and inject competition into the public education monopoly. The goal is twofold: to provide opportunities for the urban underclass to become self sufficient and to stem the continuing exodus of business and taxpayers to the suburbs.

The Reason Foundation has worked closely with these new breed mayors to enact needed reforms. In 1994, the Reason Foundation convened a national conference in Chicago which brought together a number of the country’s most reform-minded, big-city mayors, and their staffs to share insights and lessons into revolutionizing urban governance.

We are pleased to present the mayors’ landmark speeches.