As part of the wider Imagining Urban Futures programme, Kevin Ward (University of Manchester) is engaging in a research project considering how a policy that was conceived of, and designed in, California in the 1950s ended up being introduced into the UK some sixty years later.

The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) model – a mechanism for borrowing money against future rises in tax revenues in an area, which is then spent on infrastructure within the area, generating extra revenue, some of which is then used to pay off the original debt – has been acclaimed as an innovative approach to kick starting local economies in the current era of fiscal austerity. Using archival research and interviews with a range of stakeholders, this project will examine three important moments in the TIF model’s internationalisation. The first is in California where it originated, the second is in Chicago, where it has played an important role in the city’s revitalization since the 1990s and the third is in Edinburgh, which looks set to be the first city in the UK to introduce the TIF model.

Below are the articles, blogs and presentations that have emerged from the programme. More publications are set to follow.


Research Outputs and Downloads

Journal Article

Ward, K. (forthcoming) Policy mobilities, politics and place: the making of financial urban futures. European Urban and Regional Studies. [official version here]

Ward, K. (2018) Urban redevelopment policies on the move: rethinking geographies of comparison, exchange and learning. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 42 (4): 666-683. [official version here]

Baker, T., Cook, I. R., McCann, E., Tenemos, C. and Ward, K. (2016) Policies on the move: The transatlantic travels of Tax Increment Financing. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106 (2): 459-469. [free version here]

Blog Entries

Ward, K. (2012) Tax Increment Financing – continuing to learn from Chicago. New Local Government Network blog, 2nd May 2012.

Ward, K. (2012) Tax Increment Financing – a model in motion. cities@manchester blog, 30th April 2012.


Ward, K. (2012) Mobilities and mutations: Financing urban infrastructure in the twenty first century. Human Geography Seminar Series, UCL, November 2012. [pdf]

Ward, K. (2012) Transatlantic travels: Mobile policies in the current era. Global Metropolitan Studies Seminar, University of California Berkeley, April 2012 [pdf]

Ward, K. (2012) Transatlantic travels: Financing urban economic development in an age of austerity. Human Geography Seminar Colloquium, University of Zurich, March 2012 [pdf]

Ward, K. (2012) Policies in motion, the politics of elsewhere and the current urban condition. Association of American Geographers annual conference, New York City, March 2012. [pdf]

Ward, K. (2012) Making waves: Redeveloping Edinburgh’s waterfront and the trans-urban adventures of the Tax Increment Financing model. Seminar, Department of Geography, Durham University, January 2012 [pdf]

Contact Kevin Ward (kevin.ward [at] for more details on the project.