The Politics of Urban and Regional Development and the American Exception
Kevin R. Cox
An in-depth exploration of the politics of regional urban development,
contrasting the United States with the countries of Western Europe.
"The product of many years of research, theoretical and political
engagement. No one but this author could have written this book,
drawing on a literature that stretches back through the last quarter
of a century and reviewing the urban experience across the
same period and longer."—Allan Cochrane, author of Understanding Urban Policy: A Critical Approach
Kevin R. Cox is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Geography at The Ohio State
University. He is the author of numerous books, including Making Human Geography, and
was coeditor of The SAGE Handbook of Political Geography.
Book Description »[Close »]
Although all advanced industrial societies have urban and regional development
policies, such policy in the United States historically has taken on a very distinct
form. Compared with the more top-down, centrally orchestrated approaches of
Western European countries, US cities and, to a lesser degree, states, take the
lead, spurred on by developers and those with interest in rent. This bottom-up
policy creates conflict as one city battles with another for new investments and as
real estate developers fight over the spoils, resulting in highly contentious politics.
In The Politics of Urban and Regional Development and the American Exception,
Cox addresses the question of why US policy is so unique. In doing
so, he illustrates the essential characteristics of American regional development
through a series of case studies including housing politics in Silicon Valley;
the history of the Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport; and a major redevelopment
project that was rebuffed in Columbus, Ohio. Cox contrasts these
examples with Western Europe’s tradition of centralized governmental involvement
and stronger labor movements that historically have been more concerned
with creating what he calls "the good geography" than profits for developers,
whatever the shortfalls in policy outcomes might be. The differences illuminate
the peculiar nature of political engagement and local competition in shaping
the way US urban development has evolved.
6 x 9, 400 pages, 15 figures, 8 tables, notes, bibliography, index