urban governance

Progressive Urbanism in Small Towns: The Contingencies of Governing From the Left

By Ross Beveridge (University of Glasgow) and Matthias Naumann (University of Klagenfurt) | Progressive politics is increasingly thought of in terms of cities. They were nodes of resistance to Trumpism in the USA and are centers of a new municipalist movement. In response, there has been growing interest in developing progressive urban policy agendas drawing on examples across a range of cities. But what is it about the urban that drives progressive political projects? And might there be differences between larger and smaller urban areas? Much of the academic debate focuses on larger cities, meaning our understanding of how progressive urban politics plays out in smaller towns is limited. Beyond emblematic cases like Burlington (Vermont), still associated with Bernie Sanders, there is little linking small towns to progressive politics in the political or academic imagination. Indeed, the opposite is usually the case: small towns are associated with conservatism, ‘Small Town America’, for instance, and, increasingly, right-wing populism. Globalization is driving new and deepening regional inequalities, with stark divides between prosperous large urban centers, on the one hand, and small towns as well as rural areas, on the other. Long-term economic decline in many small towns is seen to drive support for politicians like Trump, right-wing political parties like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and political causes like Brexit in the UK. Read More

January 25, 2022 // 0 Comments

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

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

February 17, 2021 // 0 Comments

The City in International Political Conflict

By Scott A. Bollens (University of California, Irvine) | In this time of increased hostility and competition among groups defined by ethnic, religious, and nationalistic identity, I contribute to our understanding of fractured cities and nations in my UAR article, “National Policy Agendas Encounter the City: Complexities of Political-Spatial Implementation”. In examining two urban areas of enduring and deep inter-group violence, I reveal the contentious relationship that exists between the national political realm of policy agenda setting and the urban realm of implementation. I focus on the city and its role in perpetuating or attenuating inter-group conflict. I concentrate on how urban dynamics are both shaped by national political goals and capable of disrupting the implementation of these national programmes. I investigate two urban settings—Israel’s program aimed at sole sovereign control of Jerusalem and Northern Ireland’s effort to build peace in Belfast. I carried out seven months of in-country research and 122 interviews in 2015 and 2016. Read More

May 15, 2020 // 0 Comments