Free Access Article: Drift and conversion in metropolitan governance

Please enjoy the following free access article in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Issue 7 of 2018.

Drift and conversion in metropolitan governance: The rise of California’s redevelopment agencies, by Nicholas J. Marantz


Analysis of formal institutions in metropolitan governance has focused primarily on observable changes such as statewide property tax limitations and municipal incorporation. By contrast, scholars have devoted little attention to the ways in which changing environmental conditions and shifting interpretations can alter the impact of formally stable institutions. For example, accounts of the diffusion of tax increment–financed redevelopment in California have emphasized the impact of Proposition 13, a statewide tax limitation adopted in 1978. But this diffusion began roughly a decade earlier, as the novel data set in this article indicates, when redevelopment project areas began to proliferate in relatively small and affluent suburban jurisdictions. The data, in combination with a case study, illustrate mechanisms by which stable formal institutions, such as state laws authorizing redevelopment, can contribute to gradual changes in metropolitan governance.

Nicholas J. Marantz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Planning & Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine.

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