The suburban areas in metropolitan regions are becoming increasingly independent of the central areas and offer little support to policies for reducing the problems of the cities, and indeed may aggravate existing inner city difficulties. In 1997, a Flemish provincial government intended to build a refuse incinerator just outside the border of Brussels, much against the wishes of the city government. < Suburban self-sufficiency has frequently been reinforced by national 'New Towns' policies and programmes to strengthen smaller cities as 'growth points'. Central cities are vulnerable to the loss of their previous fiscal and political importance. A rising tax burden with a declining economic base now confronts many.
The urban crisis has prompted action, particularly in the USA, where federal and state governments in cooperation with private enterprise, have developed and implemented many inner city renewals. 'Enterprise zone' mechanisms to attract investment in 'downtown' renewal area include favourable tax rates, licensing and permit concessions and a number of creatively conceived incentives. However, even in the USA, 'urban blight' has not been contained and the 'flight to the suburbs' continues. Undesirable suburban density increase and environmental destruction results have not as yet led to integrated urban - suburban planning.