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Invisible Industries: The Politics and Struggles of Port Development Coalitions in Southern California


This dissertation focuses on the political economy of Southern California and the power of collective action in reshaping an urban regime and introduces the concept of Port-Community Benefits Agreements. It examines how low- and moderate-income residents in Southern California who were negatively impacted air pollution came together, reframed a collective problem, formed partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, and pressured a pair of public institutions to adopt significant policy changes. It examines the development of stakeholders’ symbiotic relationships and ongoing contestation for power. It identifies opportunities for marginalized populations to expand their political capacity and capture a larger share of distributional benefits of urban regimes, as well as clarify the mechanisms that allow them to leverage collective power.

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