Mazar, Alissa. 2017. Growth coalitions in declining cities: casinos, redevelopment, and inter-urban competition. Urban Geography, pp.1-22.
Casino development is a popular strategy for urban redevelopment in declining cities. I examine the process of casino acquisition in the former Canadian automotive capital, Windsor, Ontario – one of the first cities in North America, outside of Atlantic City and Las Vegas, to host a resort casino. Drawing on 20 interviews with urban elites and the local news media, I explore the interplay between a local growth coalition and State interests in the development of Casino Windsor. To capture maximum revenue for provincial coffers, provincial interests used competition between economically depressed cities to co-opt the Windsor casino alliance’s project. Windsor’s urban elites, however, continue to “talk” urban entrepreneurialism, perpetuating the myth that municipal entrepreneurialism was an effective strategy for this struggling city. These findings suggest that the importance placed on the entrepreneurial capacity of local growth coalitions in urban redevelopment studies may be misplaced, especially in peripheral and declining cities.