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Re-framing the urban blight problem with trans-disciplinary insights from ecological economics

Listed author(s):
  • Weaver, R.C.
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    Similar to circumstances in the field of economics, market fundamentalism dominates urban blight policy spaces in the U.S. despite criticisms of the paradigm. Unlike the unified alternative that ecological economics (EE) provides to conventional economic theory, however, disagreement over the meaning of “blight” has prevented a commonly held pre-analytic vision and policy agenda from forming in critical blight scholarship. This paper asserts that “applied EE” offers a framework in which to develop such a vision, and to strengthen the inchoate critical blight policy stream. We draw on the EE theory and concepts to argue that blight can be understood as a stock that accumulates in an urban system as a result of underinvestment into real property. Our conceptualization of the problem has several important implications for public policy. A brief illustration compares the relative efficacy of one city's characteristically neoliberal blight policies with more “EE-consistent” policies in a second city to show that the latter might in fact outperform the former.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800913001006
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 90 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 168-176

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:90:y:2013:i:c:p:168-176
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.03.009
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    2. Brueckner, Jan K. & Helsley, Robert W., 2011. "Sprawl and blight," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 205-213, March.
    3. Common,Michael & Stagl,Sigrid, 2005. "Ecological Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521816458.
    4. G. E. Breger, 1967. "The Concept and Causes of Urban Blight," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4), pages 369-376.
    5. Farley, Joshua & Baker, Daniel & Batker, David & Koliba, Christopher & Matteson, Richard & Mills, Russell & Pittman, James, 2007. "Opening the policy window for ecological economics: Katrina as a focusing event," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 344-354, August.
    6. Common,Michael & Stagl,Sigrid, 2005. "Ecological Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016704.
    7. Boezeman, Daan & Leroy, Pieter & Maas, Rob & Kruitwagen, Sonja, 2010. "The (limited) political influence of ecological economics: A case study on Dutch environmental policies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1756-1764, July.
    8. Costanza, Robert & Stern, David & Fisher, Brendan & He, Lining & Ma, Chunbo, 2004. "Influential publications in ecological economics: a citation analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3-4), pages 261-292, October.
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