Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Bradley Lewis




policy, urban renewal, development, solutions


Cities search for solutions to local problems in other cities and on national policy menus. This process results in many cities relying on the same solution to the same problem. Usually this diffusion of policy across multiple cities produces positive results as environmental protection, water treatment, and other city services are expanded. However in urban redevelopment policy diffusion cannot be successful as redevelopment relies on providing unique, and sometimes competitive, projects to distressed downtowns. The of writings by Jane Jacobs, Gratz and Mintz, and Richard Florida result in a group of methods that can be used to determine the potential success or failure of various redevelopment projects. These methods are applied to the history of Schenectady, New York; the city has experienced both diffused redevelopment and non-diffused redevelopment and thus serves as a useful point of comparison between successful and unsuccessful redevelopment efforts. In Schenectady policy diffusion resulted in an increasingly distressed downtown, while non-diffused policy has produced positive results. Urban redevelopers should search for unique, and avoid diffused, solutions to urban redevelopment problems.