Document Type



Public Administration

First Advisor's Name

Howard A. Frank

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Sukumar Ganapati

Third Advisor's Name

Richard Tardanico

Fourth Advisor's Name

Nazife E. Ganapati


special districts, special-purpose governance, infrastructure provision, public service delivery, growth management

Date of Defense



In an effort to reduce the cost and size of government public service delivery has become more decentralized, flexible and responsive. Public entrepreneurship entailed, among other things, the establishment of special-purpose governments to finance public services and carry out development projects. Community Development Districts (CDDs) are a type of special-purpose governments whose purpose is to manage and finance infrastructure improvements in the State of Florida. They have important implications for the way both growth management and service delivery occur in the United States. This study examined the role of CDDs for growth management policy and service delivery by analyzing the CDD profile and activity, the contribution of CDDs to the growth management and infrastructure development as well as the way CDD perceived pluses and minuses impact service delivery. The study used a mixed methods research approach, drawing on secondary data pertaining to CDD features and activity, semi-structured interviews with CDD representatives and public officials as well as on a survey of public officials within the counties and cities that have established CDDs. Findings indicated that the CDD institutional model is both a policy and a service delivery tool for infrastructure provision that can be adopted by states across the United States. Results showed that CDDs inhibit rather than foster growth management through their location choices, type and pattern of development. CDDs contributed to the infrastructure development in Florida by providing basic infrastructure services for the development they supported and by building and dedicating facilities to general-purpose governments. Districts were found to be both funding mechanisms and management tools for infrastructure services. The study also pointed to the fact that specialized governance is more responsive and more flexible but less effective than general-purpose governance when delivering services. CDDs were perceived as being favorable for developers and residents and not as favorable for general-purpose governments. Overall results indicated that the CDD is a flexible institutional mechanism for infrastructure delivery which has both advantages and disadvantages. Decision-makers should balance districts’ institutional flexibility with their unintended consequences for growth management when considering urban public policies.





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