Urban

Exploring the Tradeoffs Local Governments Make in the Pursuit of Economic Growth and Equity

By Eric Stokan (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Aaron Deslatte (Indiana University Bloomington), and Megan E. Hatch (Cleveland State University)| Local governments play a central role in promoting the economic health and vitality of their community.  Ensuring adequate jobs and bolstering revenues falls squarely within the purview  of municipal governments, and they have the capacity to use a range of policy tools to this end (tax abatements, tax increment financing, business incubators, etc.).  Research has noted a shift in the type of policies that have been used over time, referencing distinct economic development “waves” where local governments in the United States have shifted focus from business attraction to retention to entrepreneurship and more recently to promoting equity and sustainability.  This is reflected in the type of policies they use, from traditional financial tax incentives like property tax abatements to retention surveys to business incubators and finally to community development loans and provisions to ensure affordability of housing and the formation of community development corporations.  Researchers have long been curious about the factors that drive the decision to use certain types of policies and why local governments would place greater weight on goals related to economic growth than on equity or sustainability. Read More

July 1, 2021 // 0 Comments

New Journal Impact Scores

We are pleased to announce that our two-year Journal Impact Factor score has increased from 2.192 to 3.032 and our five-year impact score increased from 2.551 to 3.629. This is the fifth consecutive year our scores have increased and these are our best numbers yet. Thank you to everyone who supports UAR as an author, reviewer, or reader! Read More

July 1, 2021 // 0 Comments

Participatory Representation in a Non-Western Context: The Case of Homeowner Associations in Beijing

By Ting Guan (Beijing Normal University) and Tao Liu (Zhejiang University) | Conventional wisdom suggests that representation is closely linked to democracy and its related political and organizational institutions such as democratic elections and constitutional states (Pitkin 1967). However, if we look back in history, neither the concept nor the practice of representation has necessarily been linked to democracy or elections. Moreover, contemporary scholars have shown clearly from a theoretical approach that political representation and representative claims exist in non-democratic settings. In this study, we have explored participatory representation in the Chinese context, to better understand its operational mechanisms and functional logic. Read More

June 23, 2021 // 0 Comments

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

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

May 19, 2021 // 0 Comments

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

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

May 12, 2021 // 0 Comments

More Good News for the Democratic Potential of Local Government

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

April 27, 2021 // 0 Comments

State of the Cities Report: India

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

March 30, 2021 // 0 Comments

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

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

March 12, 2021 // 0 Comments