Urban

State-Level Influences on Community-Level Municipal Sustainable Energy Policies

May 19, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Jayce Farmer (University of Nevada) | Residential and small business consumers account for over 38% of the nation’s energy consumption. Therefore, policies emphasizing sustainability at the community-level become vital for urban communities. Yet, there is limited understanding regarding the roles state and local government relationships play in community focused sustainability. Read More

Ballot Measures for Open Space Conservation: Economic and Institutional Processes in Cities

May 12, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Agustin León-Moreta (University of New Mexico) | Conservation is a defining policy challenge of our time. With growing urbanization, the conservation of open spaces takes center stage in global debates on livability in cities. Multiple public goods result from the conservation of natural resources in metropolitan areas. They include, for example, improved environments for public health, recreation, and sustainable food systems. For these and related reasons, cities are pursuing more and more alternative approaches for the conservation of land and open spaces. Read More

More Good News for the Democratic Potential of Local Government

April 27, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Benjamin Egerod (Copenhagen Business School) and Martin Vinæs Larsen (Aarhus University) | Can citizens make an impact on local policy by changing whom they vote for in local elections? In a new study of local governments in Denmark spanning 35 years, we find that voters’ electoral input has a sizeable effect on what policies local governments’ pursue. Our findings, together with a number of other recent studies from the United States, upends the conventional wisdom that local government is unresponsive to citizen demands. 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