Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Resource Management

Committee Chair

Mathew Novak

Second Committee Member

Elvin Delgado

Third Committee Member

Patrick T. McCutcheon


This study examines the motivating forces behind downtown urban renewal projects through qualitative interview research. Using Spokane, Washington, as a case study, interviews were conducted with key players in downtown revitalization, including public administrators, private developers, and non-profit representatives. While neoliberal theory indicates that economic return serves as the primary motivation for investment, interview questions were designed to uncover whether additional motivating factors stimulate renewal work. Results indicate that those conducting renewal projects are primarily motivated by economics, but additionally cite heritage preservation values and community development as significant factors. Moreover, contemporary renewal projects are found to be small-scale endeavors, undertaken by individual private investors as government involvement has significantly diminished. Revitalizers tended to express frustration with a lack of investor and public awareness regarding renewal opportunities, suggesting that increased information dissemination might promote further renewal work within mid-sized urban downtowns. Issues with neoliberal policies in addressing contemporary urban issues are also discussed.