Articles by urbanaffairseditor

Voting in a Pandemic: COVID-19 and Primary Turnout in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

April 14, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Kevin Morris and Peter Miller | The year of 2020 was one marked by disruption and upheaval as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States proceeded with scheduled elections during the pandemic, forcing voters to reconsider whether and how they would be involved in the contests. We take advantage of a natural experiment to assess how COVID and the substantial reduction in polling places affected turnout in Milwaukee during the April presidential primary election relative to a set of voters largely unaffected by closed polling places. Unlike previous cases of polling place consolidation in the literature, the episode in Milwaukee was brought about by a natural disaster at the last minute before an election rather than an administrative decision made well in advance of election day. Read More

The Multiple Political Orders That Drive Urban Political Development

April 13, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Timothy Weaver (University at Albany, SUNY) | In recent years, scholars and pundits alike have proclaimed the emergence of an urban-rural divide that now marks “America’s political faultline.” With this observation comes the apparently uncontroversial argument that, over the course of the past few decades, cities have become increasingly liberal in contrast to the deepening conservatism in the countryside. This observation seems to be confirmed by Chris Tausanovitch and Christopher Warshaw who developed a ranking of American cities according to the policy preferences of their residents. They find that almost all cities over 250,000 are on the liberal side of the liberal-conservative spectrum, with San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Detroit, and New York City all being among the top ten “most liberal” cities in the U.S. In a related move, Clarence Stone has recently argued that the developmental “urban regimes” he famously wrote about in the 1980s, have been replaced by an “urban governing order” in which the distribution of power “more fluid.” This opens to door for new actors—potentially from historically marginalized populations—to push for more progressive policies. Read More

State of the Cities Report: India

March 30, 2021 // 0 Comments

UAR Co-Editor Yue Zhang recently participated in a webinar organized by the Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. The event presents a panel of experts from India, the United States, Canada, and Europe to discuss the State of the Cities Report: India, which was released in March, 2021. Read More

Progressive Economic Development Policies: A Square PED in a Round Hole

March 12, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Pierre Filion (University of Waterloo), Laura A. Reese (Michigan State University), and Gary Sands (Wayne State University) | The story of Amazon’s aborted attempt to locate part of its second headquarters in Long Island City, New York is well known. To briefly recap, in 2017, Amazon announced an open competition for the site of a second headquarters representing perhaps the largest single economic development opportunity in history. The company offered the winning city a $5 billion investment and the creation of up to 50,000 well-paid new jobs. Two locations were selected in November, 2018 – Long Island City and Northern Virginia. Each location would see half of the total promised investment and half of the jobs. New York’s incentive package, valued at $3 billion, included the cost of public improvements as well as performance-based grants. On February 14, 2019, however, Amazon announced that it was canceling plans for this major investment in New York City. The company indicated that they were unwilling to proceed with the project in the face of grass roots and political opposition. Read More

Submit Your Urban Photo for the May Issue of UAR

February 22, 2021 // 0 Comments

About six years ago, Urban Affairs Review started publishing a different cover photo for each issue, usually taken by one of the editors, editorial board members, or friends of the journal. The photos are taken in an urban setting and usually depict public art, crowds, architecture, or public transit. In mid-2020, we started to publish photos that portrayed current events in cities across the United States, specifically COVID-19, the protests in response to the murder of George Floyd, and the November election. Read More

Philanthropic Funding for Community and Economic Development: Exploring Potential for Influencing Policy and Governance

February 17, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Dale Thomson (University of Michigan-Dearborn) | Retired business executives donated $70 million to the City of Kalamazoo to help it respond to increasing fiscal stress. Four foundations purchased a 178-acre industrial site along Pittsburgh’s riverfront to redevelop as a mixed-use site with high sustainability standards. In Detroit, a riverfront park is being redeveloped with a $50 million donation from a local foundation. These stories suggest that, in the age of fiscal austerity, philanthropy is playing an increasingly prominent role in helping cities provide core services and promote community and economic development (CED). Read More

Avoiding Punishment? Electoral Accountability for Local Fee Increases

February 9, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Katy Hansen (Duke University), Shadi Eskaf (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Megan Mullin (Duke University) | Many elected officials expect to be punished at the ballot box for increasing taxes and fees. At a recent city council meeting in Westminster, Colorado, one council member acknowledged potential retaliation for supporting a 10% water rate increase, telling a constituent, “I have to do what I think is best for the long term health of my city […] and if it costs me my job on council […], that is a consequence I’m willing to pay.” Both scholars and policy practitioners consider the fear of electoral punishment to be an important explanation for local decision making about public services. Read More

Building Public Schools in the City: The Role of Neighborhood Context on Voter Support for School Bonds

January 28, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Rachel Moskowitz (Trinity College) | With American cities’ socio-economic cleavages and ethnic diversity growing, policy making on urban public school issues has become ever more complex. For instance, what happens when the majority of voters are of a different racial group than a majority of the students in a city? One of the primary responsibilities of municipal government is the provision of public goods for its residents. Public education is one of the most substantial of these public goods. Decisions about education are often controversial; local education policy and politics are hotly contested and the outcomes can dramatically impact the lives of metropolitan residents. Read More

How City Politics is Organized in Space in Chicago, Toronto, and London

January 22, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Zack Taylor (University of Western Toronto), Jan Doering (McGill University), and Dan Silver (University of Toronto) | Sociologists and geographers have long placed space and place at the center of their analyses. They have shown that people’s identities and attitudes are inflected by their social and physical contexts—who their neighbors are and what kind of place they live in—although they have not always extended this to politics. Studies of urban politics, on the other hand, have focused on individual characteristics such as race and gender rather than space or place. In their important study of exit polls in American big-city elections, Trounstine and Hajnal (2014) find that race overwhelms all other factors. Elections in large American cities are predominantly contests between cohesive groups defined by race. Read More