Congestion charging zones: policy feedback loops in London and New York City
Long, Allegra Rose
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Cities provide a unique landscape for policy experimentation, especially within the realm of environmental policymaking. This thesis explores two case studies of congestion pricing: London’s successful implementation under Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2003 and New York City’s failed implementation under Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008 through the scope of policy feedback loops. These instruments are comprised of inputs and outcomes between three main variables: policy entrepreneurship, widely-distributive policies, and political context, which includes partisan support, emergence and influence of organized opposition, and a policy fit-to-problem variable. This thesis proposes a general policy feedback loop that summarizes the aforementioned variables’ interactions in London, and an additional internal, temporal addition to account for New York City’s initial failure in 2008 and later success in 2019. Through qualitative research methods and interviews, this thesis applies a popular environmental science mechanism as a way to explore urban environmental policy change and hopefully improve policy development processes to anticipate and counteract emerging challenges.
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