Political Leadership and Stadium Development in Chicago: Some Cautionary Notes on the Uses of Regime Analysis


Between 1988 and 1994, Chicago was the site of three major sports stadium projects — the construction of the new Comiskey Park (since renamed US Cellular Field) and the United Center, as well as the addition of stadium‐lighting to the venerable Wrigley Field. This article analyzes the implementation of these projects with the aim of critiquing and reorienting contemporary regime theory. The more particular amendments to typical regime analysis focus on the ‘opportunism’ of political figures in shaping agendas and carrying through projects. The larger suggestions growing from this analysis pertain to the nature of regime theory as a mode of political analysis and, additionally, to a reconceptualization of how regime analysis can be linked to the normative assessment of urban policy.