Urban policy: addressing wicked problems

Tony Harrison

in What works?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9781861341914
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304265 | DOI:
Urban policy: addressing wicked problems

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Of all the areas discussed, urban policy perhaps faces some of the most formidable problems in identifying what works. Nonetheless, this chapter shows that the rhetoric of evidence figures large in the justification of many of the schemes aimed at improving the urban environment. Evaluation of the success (or otherwise) of many such schemes has been attempted. The chapter concentrates on policy directed at the multifaceted problems of cities, in particular those concentrated in specific neighbourhoods where problems of housing, health, employment, and crime seem to reinforce each other and demand a multiagency approach. Naturally enough, methodological problems are legion – in particular, identifying suitable outcomes, identifying unwanted effects or displacements, and making causal attributions between any outcomes obtained and the activities undertaken. The response has been a growing body of case material, which provides rich individual accounts but few robust generalisations.

Keywords: urban environment; urban policy; city problems; crime

Chapter.  8141 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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