The concept of the City State is associated with classical Athens. Athens was host to citizens who studied science, philosophy and history,and lived a life surrounded by arts, architecture and literature along with democratic governance.The return of the importance of the City state is occurring in the United States where cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have publicly stated that they will be sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants even if they lose federal funding under the new President Elect.
Klaus Kunzmann has written on the ramifications of planning in the Trumpian era. The Brexit vote in Great Britain divided the urban and the rural areas. A similar split has occurred in the Trumpian vote in America where “we can expect the cities, rather than national governments, increasingly to lead efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Of course it would be better if the national governments were helping, rather than undermining their efforts. However, the cities are crucial players and will become even more so. The challenge to their planners is to become more brave and creative, rather than retreating. Zero-energy districts, sustainable travel, closed systems for waste, brownfield renewal, roof gardens, urban agriculture, inclusive planning… the list of possibilities is long, though time could be short.”
Secondly, Kunzmann notes that marginalized cities and rural places need to have essential services and supports that are often lacking in order to maintain happy and prosperous populations. “We need to think about how to connect local identity, uniqueness, conservation, social enterprises, online learning, and youth entrepreneurship into new pathways to development. “
In many ways Vancouver’s Green City Action Plan to create a strong local economy, vibrant and inclusive neighbourhoods and a city that will meet the needs of future generations provides guidance for American municipalities. Now more than ever it is important to think of resilience and equity and diversity. It will also be important for Metro Vancouver municipalities to listen and to share experiences as American City States go forward by themselves, against dissenting Federal policy. As Jane Jacobs said “The trouble with paternalists is that they want to make impossibly profound changes, and they choose impossibly superficial means for doing so.”