Friday, February 13, 2015

From our January 2015 issue: Reflections on Regime Politics From Governing Coalition to Urban Political Order

  1. Clarence N. Stone1
  1. 1George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
  1. Clarence N. Stone, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA.


With hindsight covering a quarter of a century of Regime Politics, this reflection calls for refashioning the concept of an urban regime into a more encompassing idea of a multitiered political order. As an approach to political change, cross-time comparisons suggest that periodization can highlight how forces conjoin in different ways as political development unfolds. From this perspective, there is little reason to expect to find in today’s cities a stable and cohesive governing coalition held together around a high-priority agenda. Yet the need for resources to be commensurate with policy goals and the strength of purpose in the face of an established mind-set are key lessons to be retained from the past experiences of Atlanta and other cities. While systemic inequality continues as an overarching reality, mitigating responses can be worked out in the middle ground between structure and agency.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

From our January 2015 issue: Reclaiming the European City and Lobbying for Privilege Business Improvement Districts in Germany

  1. Boris Michel1
  2. Christian Stein2
  1. 1Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
  2. 2Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
  1. Boris Michel, Institut für Geographie, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Kochstr. 4/4, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany. Email:


Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are an increasing global phenomenon. In diverse places, they are established and sought of as helpful means to improve urban places. BIDs are frequently seen as a showcase for new forms of globalizing urban policies. This paper contrasts and broadens the frequent examples from the United States and the United Kingdom with experiences from Germany. We argue that this presents not just another example of BIDs as a mode of global neoliberal urban governance in yet another country. Instead, our case study highlights the elasticity and resilience of said concept and the impact of local trajectories on the mobilization of modes of urban governance. Compared with other places, BIDs in Germany remain relatively weak in terms of financial power. Nonetheless, the case of Hamburg shows how they are made suitable for discourses and practices of a neoliberalized “European City.”

Monday, February 9, 2015

From our January 2015 issue: Cities and Sustainability Polycentric Action and Multilevel Governance

  1. George C. Homsy1
  2. Mildred E. Warner2
  1. 1Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, USA
  2. 2Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  1. George C. Homsy, Department of Public Administration, Binghamton University, P.O. Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902, USA. Email:


Polycentric theory, as applied to sustainability policy adoption, contends that municipalities will act independently to provide public services that protect the environment. Our multilevel regression analysis of survey responses from 1,497 municipalities across the United States challenges that notion. We find that internal drivers of municipal action are insufficient. Lower policy adoption is explained by capacity constraints. More policy making occurs in states with a multilevel governance framework supportive of local sustainability action. Contrary to Fischel’s homevoter hypothesis, we find large cities and rural areas show higher levels of adoption than suburbs (possibly due to free riding within a metropolitan region).