Welcome to the Center for Metropolitan Studies. The Center is a means by which GSPIA serves the city, region, and state while providing management and policy experience to students as they undertake their graduate studies. A major project is the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT), an effort that has led to the formation of an organization comprised of the City of Pittsburgh (310,000 pop.) and the 37 municipalities (370,000 pop.) that share a common border with the city. CONNECT has become the lead governmental association currently addressing a wide variety of social, environmental, and economic issues facing the multi-jurisdictional core of our region.
All urban and most rural regions of the United States have seen the formation of a Regional Intergovernmental Organization (RIGO) constituted by the local governments within that region and supported by active engagement of that region’s civic sector, its’ business community, and citizens and citizen groups. Even though they are ubiquitous, little is known in theory and practice about how these organizations developed, how they have reshaped public discourse practices or how they can be enhanced to better address a wide variety of public policy issues. We have become the lead institution in the United States in developing knowledge on RGOs and we are proud to be at the forefront of better insight into what will be seen as the major local governing innovation of the first quarter of the 21st century.
The Center is also responsible for developing, updating, and publishing a major research tool for the study of metropolitan regions in the United States. Every five years the US Census Bureau releases financial information on all 86,000 local governments. The Metropolitan Power Diffusion Index (MPDI) is a summary statistic for each region measuring the degree of local government fragmentation (diffusion) of economic and political power based on that census data. We make our research and findings available for use by researchers and public policy activists throughout the US.
The Center also presents, annually or semi-annually, the Wherrett Lecture Series. Since 1955, the lecture has brought cutting edge thinkers and innovators on the Local Governing of cities (circa 1955) and Regions (circa 2016). Recent lectures have been given by Robert Putnam of Harvard University and Richard Feiock of Florida State University. This fall Margaret Weir from Brown University will be giving the lecture.
David Y. Miller
Director, Center for Metropolitan Studies