Articles by urbanaffairseditor

The Equity/Economic Development Tradeoff in Cross-sector Collaborations

February 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

Melissa Arnold Lyon and Jeffrey R. Henig | On a chilly October morning in Buffalo, New York, the Executive Director of Say Yes Buffalo sits at a table in a high school library with a group of about 20 community leaders. The group includes two local foundation leaders, the president of the local teachers union, a top school official, the vice president of a parent advocacy group, a few local higher education representatives, and a representative from the County Department of Social Services, among others. They gather for these meetings once every three weeks. On the agenda today is a discussion about inviting a representative from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to join this group, known as the Operating Committee of Say Yes Buffalo, as well as an update on programmatic data for initiatives such as school-based legal clinics, mental health clinics, mobile health units, and summer camps. During these updates, implementation challenges are discussed and the participants volunteer or call upon each other to figure out solutions. Not every issue is resolved, but the Operating Committee works together, argues a little, and eventually determines what it can accomplish.  Read More

Why scholars should avoid throwing out a 28-year-old baby with the bathwater: Applying urban regime analysis to Switzerland

January 16, 2018 // 0 Comments

Sébastien Lambelet | Governing a city has always required some cooperation between public and private actors since both actors lack resources owned by their counterpart to govern effectively. This interdependence has been theorized in the late 1980s by Clarence Stone with the concept of “urban regime”. Simply defined, an urban regime is a longstanding coalition between the city government and some private actors that has defined a specific policy agenda and that has the capacity to mobilize the necessary resources to implement it. However, in recent time, the concept of urban regime has been heavily criticized by several American scholars who considered it unable to explain the increasing complexity of contemporary governance. By contrast, European scholars have increasingly referred to urban regimes since the concept allows them to take into consideration the declining role of nation states and the rise of neoliberalism that they observe in Europe. Read More

Testing the Importance of Geographic Distance for Social Capital Resources

January 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

Kirk Foster | Each one of us occupies a particular space in the course of our daily lives. We live in a domicile on a block that is situated within a specific neighborhood within a specific town or city. We move about that city as we go to work or someplace to volunteer – each occupy their own space into which we are incorporated. We have particular places that we stop for coffee to chat with familiar faces or shop for groceries. We may drop off children at daycare and discuss common issues with other parents. We may worship with a group of people who share similar values and experiences. My point is that our lives exist within both a social and geographic context. We cannot divorce the two. Our social interactions happen, in part, because of the geography we occupy each day.   Read More

Artists, Temporality, and the Governance of Collaborative Place-making

December 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Alison Bain and Friederike Landau | Work space for artists is becoming increasingly scarce in the city of Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin wall, artists were often welcomed in formerly run-down neighborhoods in order to creatively upgrade them, but their spatial presence in inner-city areas has undergone a transformation. Even though artists continue to play a crucial role in shaping the image and character of Berlin as a creative and open-minded place that attracts tourists, investors and new businesses, in times where both residential and commercial rent prices are rising and gentrification leaves visible marks all over the city, artists increasingly face the difficulty of finding affordable work and living space to pursue their creative projects. In response, various artist-led and cultural workers’ movements have collectivized to find alternatives to market-oriented models of ownership and tenancy. For example, the initiative AbBA – Allianz bedrohter Berliner Atelierhäuser (Alliance of Endangered Studio Houses) seeks to speak back to artists’ spatial displacement. Read More

Picking Winners: How Political Organizations Influence Local Elections

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

Andrea Benjamin and Alexis Miller | Endorsements are a part of most elections.  In the urban and local context, they can come from other elected officials (National, State, and Local), Political Action Committees (PACs), and newspapers.  Regardless of the source of the endorsements, the conventional wisdom is that candidates seek out endorsements because they believe they help voters make informed decisions.  Despite their popularity during campaigns, we know very little about how local elected officials, PACs, and community leaders decide which candidates to endorse. We know even less about the extent to which voters are aware of these endorsements when casting their ballots.  Based on our study, PACs use a combination of questionnaires, interviews, and member deliberation to determine which candidates they endorse and voters are aware of these endorsements as they vote.  In local elections that lack partisan cues, these endorsements may provide voters with useful shortcuts about which candidates to select. Read More

Speculative Charter School Growth in the Case of UNO Charter School Network in Chicago

November 29, 2017 // 0 Comments

Benjamin F. Teresa and Ryan M. Good | The Obama administration emphasized charter schools as a reform strategy; early indications from the Trump administration signal a wholesale drive toward expanded “choice” options. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is now the highest-profile advocate for school choice, arguing alongside other proponents for liberalized regulation and financing for the expansion of charter schools. In their estimation, when parents are empowered to choose the school that best meets their children’s needs, schools are compelled to compete for students, and this marketplace delivers education efficiently and effectively to the public. Read More

Can British Columbia be a Model for US Regional Governance?

November 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

Hal Wolman | Local government fragmentation in US metropolitan regions has been widely recognized as a critical problem with seriously adverse consequences impeding the ability of the region to engage in actions that would be beneficial to the region as a whole.  Despite this recognition, the problem has proven nearly impervious to effective solutions, although partial remedies such as single-purpose regional special districts, inter-local agreements, and planning and discussion forums such as Councils of Government (COGs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) abound.  Yet in many other countries – including most proximately Canada in the province of British Columbia – the widespread use of multi-purpose regional special districts provides a possible model for a successful and improved response to regional governance in the U.S.  The Canadian model, in particular, appears to address effectively the major roadblock to regional governance in the U.S., namely the fear of local governments that they will lose their autonomy and not be able to pursue their own interests in the presence of a regional government institution. Read More

Public Service Provision and Urban Stratification in Shanghai

November 13, 2017 // 0 Comments

Huiping Li | The interaction between public service provision of local governments and housing market can reinforce each other and polarize the socioeconomic space in this global city, Shanghai, even though the governance system is centralized instead of fragmented as in the US. Therefore, how to balance between different types of public expenditure within local governments has significant social and economic implications. Read More