Looking Inside the Black Box: Economic Development in Suburbia
Mouritsen, Melissa M
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Policy making in suburban governments has not been as robustly studied as that of larger cities. Explanations tend to rely on market and economic explanations, portraying suburban governments as pawns or even prisoners of the larger metropolitan economy. Sometimes suburbia is even described as a battleground for jobs, resources and residents. This leaves little to no room for politics in suburban governance; instead it is an all out quest for the maximization of tax revenues. Using Savitch and Kantor’s concept of driving and steering variables, I propose that suburban governments can and do have agency in the decisions they make. Suburbs create a vision of what they want for their community, and enact policy to realize that vision to the extent that they have the necessary resources to achieve that vision.