Document Type

Occasional Paper

Paper Type

Student Research

Publication Date

Fall 2014


Since the 1980’s numerous urban scholars have taken to proclaiming one city or another as being ‘progressive.’ Planning websites like American Planning Association, Planetizen or Progressive Planning Magazine are inundated with examples of progressive planning in action. The examples of touted progressive cities are many: Burlington, Berkeley, Cleveland, Boston, L.A., Chicago, Cincinnati, Portland, Minneapolis, Austin, Denver, and Seattle have all been championed as progressive cities. Most of them come with brackets: Boston was progressive [under Mayor Flynn]; Chicago was progressive [under Mayor Washington]; Burlington was progressive [under Mayor Sanders]. There is also no shortage of descriptors about what makes a city progressive: linkage policies, minimum wages, rent control, affirmative action policies, and more recently public transit, mixed-use development, and pro-density growth policies. A more recent articulation of the progressive city tends to use phrases like ‘right-thinking,’ ‘cool,’ ‘hip,’ or ‘walkability’ and locates progressiveness in its ‘urbanity’.


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Occasional Paper Number