Four overlapping subfields of urban policy analysis are reviewed. The political leadership analyses include elite theories, group theory, neo-Marxist work, and network analyses. Consideration of citizen preferences involves populist spatial theories, budget pies, and policy responsiveness. Bureaucratic theories include incrementalism, the dynamic bureau head, and professionalism. Population and economic location analyses increasingly stress small firms, simultaneity of job and residential choice, and impacts of public policy.

These alternative approaches were often advanced as one-factor interpretations. But a contextual relativism approach seeks to reconcile their ostensibly conflicting results. Results differ by context. Current work specifies how rules of the game, identified by distinct political cultures, shift processes across contexts.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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