Re-establishing the Micropolis
by Vincent DeSantis
The micropolis is a cohesive, human-scale community where an atmosphere of familiarity and validation is a catalyst for lively commercial and intellectual exchange. The city of between 10,000 and 50,000 people is the crucible from which the concepts of democracy, communal responsibility and free enterprise arose. It naturally forms a creative matrix that nurtures healthy lives, fostering productivity and innovation.
For over 100 years Gloversville, New York, was a thriving micropolis as the center of the leather and glove industries in North America. Over the past half century, technological, economic and demographics shifts have undermined American cities, causing an exodus of jobs, people and vitality, leaving Gloversville and many other communities fragmented and unable to function. Gloversville's decline ended a decade ago when it achieved a tenuous stability. Though diminished and weakened, it struggles to hold on to the institutions that comprise the essential ingredients of civic life. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, changes in both technology and popular attitudes have opened a window of opportunity to restore the vitality of these communities by establishing a stabled, localized economic and civic life, providing a buffer against the volatility of world conditions.
This book explains civic integrity, why we lost it, and how citizens can seize the opportunity to rebuild it. The re-establishment of the micropolis as a healthy, productive and sustainable human community will allow it again provide the creative energy for a healthy American future.
Vincent DeSantis currently is the sitting Gloversville City Court Judge. He is a graduate of C.W. Post College on Long Island (1970) and St. John's University School of Law in New York City (1977). His study of law was interrupted by active service in the U.S. Army between 1971 and 1973; he served most of that time in Europe. After completing active duty, he traveled extensively in Europe, acquiring an intimate knowledge of its large cities and small communities, their historic context, current circumstances, and future prospects.
Upon returning to the United States, the author completed law school in New York City and returned to Gloversville to practice law in 1977. Certain that we have the power through our own actions to change the character of small cities and improve the quality of our lives, he has been actively engaged in a variety of successful community improvement initiatives.