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Gaining prominence in the United States during the final decades of the twentieth century, the term progressive city refers to an urban political and developmental strategy that emphasizes public planning, social equity, and neighborhood participation. Such an approach is often counterposed to downtown-oriented growth strategies that accentuate market-led development and that restrict the role of the public sector to tax incentives and the provision of basic services. In progressive cities, municipal governments pursue a more ambitious agenda—from public ownership and fair taxation to land use regulation and community development partnerships—to promote rational economic development, distribute the benefits of growth more widely, and involve a broader range of constituents in urban governance.

Principles and Characteristics

The urban progressives of the late twentieth century did not explicitly derive their ...

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