to everyone, but mostly to section 1

Hiya folks,

You have all been REALLY GOOD sports as we’ve been digging into this urban governance stuff. Ferman has been dense and fact-filled, and too many acronyms and lots of old stories.

I keep promising you we are building our way back to theories of urban governance, and then I make you look at/talk about more empirical examples. Rude!

But the reason really is because we are building our way back to theories of urban governance. And in my view, the best theories come from the real world – hence, we need examples.

But what I would LOVE is if you could see Chicago & Pittsburgh, as Ferman describes them, as examples. This is why it is ok if you flub the names of some of the organizations, or if we mix up who the mayor is in one year or one city: because we just want the narrative outline.

All we want is to understand who is making decisions, and who isn’t. And then we want to understand (this is the spoiler – this is what we are getting to): is it ALWAYS that group(s) making the decision? That’s what our theories of informal urban governance will answer: who makes the decisions?


And so, dear section 1, I fear I left you all very frustrated today. And I’m so sorry about that! I’m trying to figure out how to help us all get to the place of talking about themes in these different examples, so we can use the themes to illustrate competing theories of urban decision-making, urban governance.

There: I’ve laid bare my plan. I hope this helps you see that we are not on a pointless path; and that we are not aiming solely to develop mastery of the ins-and-outs of Pittsburgh’s community development system! We are working towards understanding who has power in these cities.


On Friday we will use a few more examples (including the New York graffiti response example) to derive more themes, and then flesh out our theories.

Questions? Come see me or shoot me an email.



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