Understanding Absences and Presences of BID Policies: A Comparative Case of Accra and Cape Town

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Public Policy & Administration Department

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Charles Wharton Kaye-Essien

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Research Article

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Urban Forum

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Using ideas from the mobilites/transfer and policy learning literatures, this paper unpacks how system factors and socio-cognitive behaviours of policy actors create conditions of policy absence. Whilst mobilities/transfer studies have ballooned over the years thanks in part to continuously evolving global communication and travel systems, these studies have tended to overwhelmingly focus on sites where policies are present. For the most part, sites where policies are absent, rejected, de-activated, redirected or failed have received little attention. This paper responds to recent calls for scholars to focus on places where best-practice policy models are absent by employing the presence of Business Improvement Districts in Cape Town as an empirical lens to understand policy absence in Accra. The paper relies on a combination of literature review, discourse analyses and semi-structured interviews. Findings indicate that presences and absences of urban policies are conditions of prevailing political, social and economic perturbations in a country. Additionally, at the local level, the exercise of power, dominance, opinions, attitudes and values by actors equally contribute to creating policy presence or absence.

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