Date of Award

1982

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Dennis Muniak

Abstract

Rhode Island is a small state, perhaps the closest thing in North America to an ancient city state. The area of the state is compact; most of the state's population lives in the metropolitan Providence area. Because the state is so small everything is handy. “Everybody knows everybody or knows someone who does," marveled one person who moved here. The bureaucracy is small and concentrated. For this reason it is supposed by some that Rhode Island is the perfect, small laboratory to test innovation in government. Everything happens on a small scale; for that reason it should be easy for the elected politicians to conceive an idea and get it implemented.

I propose to turn this idea upside down. Rhode Island's true value is to discover why things don't work. It is so small its bureaucracy is comparatively easy to observe. Rhode Island public figures are, in the experience of this writer, fairly accessible. (No one I approached for an interview turned me down) What makes a bold new program, with a lot of high-powered support go wrong?

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