International Challenges and Perspectives
Edited by Jeffrey A. Raffel, Peter Leisink and Anthony E. Middlebrooks
Chapter 11: Business Improvement Districts and the Design of Third-Party Governance: Framing Business Leadership in Urban Subdistrict Regeneration
Jonathan B. Justice and Chris K. Skelcher INTRODUCTION Over the past two decades urban policy in both the USA and the UK has sought to engage business leaders in various forms of public-private partnership (PPP) with city governments. Business is regarded as a key actor in facilitating the regeneration of urban areas, and a variety of formal and informal governance arrangements have emerged to structure its relationship with city government. By their nature such arrangements often presume significant leadership of public policy by business people. The academic literature of urban governance presents the formation, governance and consequences of PPPs as crucial to understanding urban politics, and thus often addresses in detail the exercise and consequences of business leadership in specific urban development and regeneration projects and in urban governance more generally (for example, Austin and McCaffrey 2002; Squires 1989; Stone 1993; Ysa 2007). Our focus here is on examining the origins of business leadership in what Bogason (2000) has called collective public action – the joining of nongovernmental networks with local governments’ authority, legitimacy and other resources in order to solve specific policy problems – at the sublocal level. Recently there has also been considerable interest among policymakers and academics on both sides of the Atlantic in business-led structures of sublocal (or ‘subdistrict’) governance such as town center management (TCM) and business improvement districts (BIDs). Much of the debate about BIDs in particular – like much of the debate about PPPs more broadly – revolves around questions of identifying the appropriate role of business...
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