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The Changing Politics of Urban Public Investment


Since the demise of urban renewal in the early 1970s, the politics of large-scale public investment in urban areas has received little scholarly attention. In Mega-Projects, Alan A. Altshuler and David E. Luberoff examine the forces that gave rise to a great wave of urban mega-projects in the 1950s and 1960s, that broke this wave in the years around 1970, and that have shaped a new generation of such projects in the decades since.While focusing principally on transportation mega-projects such as Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel project (the “Big Dig”), Denver International Airport, and the Los Angeles subway, they consider as well the scores of new stadiums, arenas, and convention centers built (mainly at public expense) in recent years.Mega-Projects includes rich narratives of both national policymaking and local mobilization to bring about highway, airport, rail-transit, and downtown revitalization projects, particularly since the 1970s. The specific projects chronicled are drawn from numerous regions including Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, and Seattle. It also includes broad analyses, seeking to place the authors' findings in relation to leading theories of urban and American politics, and to appraise the most important practical consequences of policy shifts in this arena over the past half-century. In a concluding chapter, the authors examine post-September 11 developments and the potential effects of both new fiscal pressures and security concerns on the future of urban mega-projects.Alan A. Altshuler is the Frank and Ruth Stanton Professor of Urban Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and its Graduate School of Design. He is also director of the Kennedy School's A. Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government. David E. Luberoff is associate director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government and an adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government

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