What Is An Urban Regime Cultural Studies Essay











11. What is an urban regime and why do they matter? List three types of regimes, according to Stone, and explain their function.

An urban regime is "the long term, informal public-private governing arrangement that can be found in many cities" (Ross & Levine, pg. 83-87). Regimes are important because they help people see past just election results and actually look at the person that is running a city. They help people to look deeper into the issues and learn how to work together.

The first type of regime is a corporate regime or a development regime. The corporate regime caters more to the big businesses in a city and concerns itself very little with helping the lower class neighborhoods in the city. The corporate regime is more focused on growth and development that will benefit the corporations and businesses more than it will benefit the residents that have little to no means.

The second type of regime is a caretaker or maintenance regime. The caretaker regime is found more often in smaller cities. The caretaker regime does not want to commit to large projects that will take a lot of money to develop within the city and it wants to keep the taxes low and keep the area from being developed or grow. In this regime it is common to see the residents that own property and the smaller businesses work with each other in order to keep projects from passing and being implemented that would allow for a tax increase or anything else that would cause a change in the city.

The third type of regime is a progressive regime. The progressive regime is found the least often within the cities. This regime wants to help the lower and middle class residents. It is a shame that this is the least found type of regime, but it also explains a lot about various cities lower and middle class areas. In a progressive regime the "lower" citizens have more access to the governing bodies of a city than in any other regime. There are two different types of the progressive regime. One is the middle-class progressive regime and the other is a lower-class opportunity expansion regime. The middle-class progressive regime focuses on how the growth that is planned by the city will affect the homeowners of the area and also how it will affect the environment of the area or the eco effects to the land. This regime promotes more of a slow growth spin on the development of an area and looks out more for the ecological preservation of the area. The lower-class opportunity expansion regime wants to help the city’s poor residents and neighborhoods to help them rise above where they are now and have a better life. All the progressive regimes have problems because most of the time all the "players" in the "game" of development do not share the same goal.

12. Define and discuss metropolitan fragmentation.

According to our textbook, "metropolitan fragmentation denotes the lack of broad, overarching body capable of governing the socially and economically interconnected metropolis; instead, the region is divided into many smaller pieces with governmental authority parceled out to autonomous local bodies"(Ross & Levine, pg.222-223). Metropolitan fragmentation is where big metropolitan cities like New York are broken down into smaller, cities, villages and boroughs to be governed by many people. In metropolitan fragmentation it is very difficult to coordinate any planning because it is so broken up with so many different people in charge. Each area is only looking out for their own benefit and not the benefit of the whole metropolitan area. Metropolitan fragmentation has some draw backs to it because of the many political boundaries that come into play. The citizens suffer in the case of emergency management. If the emergency personnel cannot respond from one fragmented area to another because of these boundaries then the people needing the help are the ones to suffer, because of the fragmentation, instead of it being one big area where all emergency personnel can respond to any area. The taxpayers also are the ones to bear the burden of metropolitan fragmentation. Each area that is fragmented has to have its own utilities, fire stations, police stations and hospitals. It is expensive to have each of these in each borough. I think it would be more cost efficient to not fragment a metropolitan area and provide these services to the larger area. Metropolitan fragmentation also encourages urban sprawl and helps to segregate the public schools with the political boundaries. Urban sprawl is not good in that it is using up valuable land area without being an effective use of land space.

13. Compare and contrast the power elite theory with pluralist theory of power.

"The power elite theory perceives the local arena as highly undemocratic, as essentially closed to competing voices" (Ross & Levine, pg. 77). In the power elite theory the major businesses in the city are essentially in control of the city. I do not think that this is good for a city. The major businesses are accountable to their stockholders, but not to the citizens of the city they are located in. They could care less about the welfare of the citizens or the health of the city. Most of the time the upper management of a major business is not even from the city they are located in but rather they are moved to that city by the business so they could personally care less about what happens to and in the city.

In the pluralist theory of power "…the pluralists observe that local political systems are not closed but are open to a diversity of …voices and interests. Even racial minorities and the poor are not shut out" (Ross & Levine, pg. 77). In this theory of power the major businesses in the city are not in control of the city and their CEO’s do not participate in the affairs of the city because they are only there temporarily. I think that this theory would be more beneficial to the citizens of the city. The book states that racial minorities and the poor of the city are able to participate in the political aspects of the city (Ross & Levine, pg. 78), but when you take the time to look around most of the time the minorities and the poor of a city are the ones that nobody listens to or pays any attention to especially the big business leaders. So although businesses do not have as strong of a hold in the pluralist’s theory as they do in the power elite theory the major businesses do still have a role in the planning of a city because of the financial impact that a major corporation can have on a city.

14. Identification: Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

Buckley v. Valeo is a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that "created an independent expenditures loophole in campaign finance laws" (Ross & Levine, pg. 150). This Supreme Court ruling says that candidates have the right to spend unlimitedly on their political campaign unless they volunteer to not spend unlimited amounts of money for their campaign. This ruling also allows corporations to be able to donate to a campaign. In essence I think that this ruling allows candidates to be able to literally buy their way into office and that should not take place. The campaigns should be fair and square between all candidates on an even playing field in all aspects of their campaign.

15. Identification: Article I Section 8 of the Constitution

This Article and Section of the Constitution defines the powers of Congress. Article I Section 8 of the Constitution lists expressed powers according to the dual federalism perspective. The powers listed include the powers to coin money, regulate interstate commerce, raise an army, declare war, enter into treaties with other nations and be able to establish post offices (Ross & Levine, pg. 269). Article I Section 8 of the Constitution also includes the necessary and proper clause which means that the federal government has a lot of implied powers that people do not realize that they have. The elastic clause in this section of the Constitution gives the federal government more powers and takes away the powers of the states that they were given in the Tenth Amendment. People liked the implied powers and elastic clause during the Great Depression. They wanted the government to step in and create jobs and help to put Americans back to work. Much like today where our society needs the government to step in and create some jobs for its citizens.

16. What are the three basic form of city government? Discuss each form and give one example of each.

I found the three basic forms of city government discussed in chapter 5 on pages 103-111 in our textbook. The three basic forms of city government are mayor council, commission arrangement and council-manager plan.

The mayor council has two variants to it a weak mayor and a strong mayor. The weak mayor structure denies the mayor meaningful authority and effective control over the executive branch of a city’s government (Ross & Levine, pg. 104). The mayor has very little power or control and he cannot appoint or get rid of his administrative personnel. The mayor does not have the power to choose who he wants to work with but he instead has to work with people that are chosen by the city council. The mayor in this weak mayor structure cannot even veto legislation that he does not agree with. This form of city government would not work in large cities. The bigger, larger cities need a mayor that can give strong leadership and help direct the growth of the city. The strong mayor system gives the mayor control and powers over the city governments various departments. The mayor can in the strong mayor structure choose who he wants to work with and he can veto legislation that he does not agree with however the city council can override the veto if they choose to. The strong mayor structure still has checks and balances built into it, the mayor has to get council approval before he can choose who the top people will be that is in the local government that he works with. The mayor does not have free run of the city budget and has to get approval from the city council before spending money.

The commission arrangement is a city council consisting of five to nine members that run the city and each council member also is the head of a certain city department. So they use one person for two positions. This same commission also picks one of its members to be the mayor of the city visually but that person does not have any more power than any of the other council members. They are all equal on the council in terms of power and decision making. The commission arrangement is not used on a wide scale anymore however a lot of small towns and counties still use the commission arrangement. It is not used because many cities want the entire city represented in the local government and with the commission arrangement by each council member also being a department head there is a chance that the council member will strongly represent what would be good for their department instead of what would be good for the whole city. There are good points with the commission arrangement and down sides as well. I can see why most large cities would not want to use this system.

The council-manager plan is one of the most widely used systems by mid-sized cities. The council manager plan is not used by big cities or small cities. It is just not cost effective for the small cities to pay a city manager and a mayor both and in turn big cities are just too large in size and want to keep using a mayor as the sole responsible party. The council-manager arrangement allows a city manager to take control of executive authority instead of the elected mayor. This arrangement is used in Cobb County where the city manager is in control of the budget and the mayor has to seek approval for expenses from the city manager. In the council-manager plan there is a city council that picks the city manager. The city council can still set policies for the city however when it comes to being in charge of money, department heads and the operations of the agencies within the city the city manager has the power not the mayor. The council can change who the city manager is if they are not happy with the job he is doing. So although the city manager has a lot of power as far as running the city he can still be replaced if he does not do his job and do it well. Under this structure the mayor is chosen from the city council and the mayor visually represents the city but he or she does not have any powers when it comes to veto’s and administrative duties when it comes to this the city manager takes over. Most of the time the city manager is not seen by the public as a representative of the city but rather the mayor is so at public ceremonies and the like the mayor is seen by the public although he or she does not have the bulk of the power of the city that is retained by the city manager that stays out of the public eye.

17. Sketch the levels of citizen participation. Give two examples.

Citizen Control

Degree of citizen power

Delegated Power



Degree of tokenism






I found the levels of citizen participation in chapter 7 starting on page 162 of our textbook. One example of citizen participation would be exercising your right to vote. Voting is a very powerful way to participate as a citizen and let your voice be heard. Another example of citizen participation would be participating in jury duty. This would be citizen participation at the county level.

18. What are the advantages and risks of privatization? Relate your answer to a specific example.

I found the advantages of privatization in chapter 11 on page 191 of our textbook. I found the risks of privatization in chapter 11 on page 192 of our textbook. Competition is the driving factor for privatization. Competition allows for a greater efficiency in public goods which benefits the citizens. Without competition being present a city cannot save any money thru privatization. Most of your competition in a city comes in with the administrative areas of the city such as trash pickup and fire protection. Within the private sector there is more flexibility than in the public sector. In private firms they can move people from one area to another at will and fire who they want. They can even reward top employees for their good work. Whereas in the public firms you do not see employees being rewarded for their work or people getting transfers from one department to another. One of the disadvantages of privatization is that it can lead to corruption. City officials can choose to reward firms with contracts who have supported them in winning the election or through monetary means. Cities can also lose money through privatization when they get a lowball contract when it is submitted by a private firm. In the end the city ends up paying more than what the contract states because of the initial bid being so low that the contractor could not complete the work for the quoted price and ends up billing the city for the work that has already been done. (Ross & Levine, pg. 192). Privatization hurts the public school system instead of helping it get straighten out when it is in trouble. By privatizing a public school the teachers end up working longer hours with no extra pay and this in turn causes the "best" teachers to leave the school system for teaching positions elsewhere at public schools that pays them either more money or the same amount of money for shorter working hours. By the "best" teachers leaving a school that has been privatized this will cause students to not have good teachers and their test scores will drop which will not help improve the school which is why the school privatized in the first place. Privatizing a public school takes money away from the public school system and puts it into the private school. Private schools do not have to have the same standards of education as the public school systems do this will cause the students to leave the public school to go to the privatized school and this will economically impact the public schools.