Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

Committee Chair

Kevin M. Leyden.


Many theories on successful small city development and revitalization efforts hinge on three major areas; Policies and programs, quality of life, and strong coalitions between government, non-profit groups, local business, and residents. This dissertation examines the affects that government policies and programs (e.g., Main Street programs, zoning laws, etc.) have on the success of small city development and revitalization efforts. Using original survey data from a sample of key small city policy makers across the United States, this dissertation explores how perceptions of small city downtowns are influenced by government efforts to improve them. Regression analysis is employed to determine these relationships. Perceptions of the overall quality of life are also addressed. The dissertation concludes that mixed-use zoning, programs such as Main Street USA, cooperation among key stakeholders, and the perceptions of quality of life in a given area have a highly significant impact on the "success" of downtowns. The implications found here can aid cities striving to improve their downtowns and the quality of life for the people who live there.