Year of publication
Journal of Urban Affairs
Despite the enormous size of the urban population, political scientists have very little knowledge of the capacity for substantive representation in large cities. This article develops and tests models of urban representation based on the deliberative democracy theoretical framework. Focusing on school districts in Los Angeles County, this article uses a unique survey of school district superintendents from within the largest county in the United States to develop a comparative index measure of deliberative democracy. The results from this article show that urban deliberative democracy is strongly correlated with increased political knowledge, high levels of minority political empowerment, and low levels of racial conflict. Furthermore, deliberative democracy is significantly correlated with greater concern toward policy issues prioritized by the school districts. These findings suggest the importance of promoting deliberative practices in urban, multiracial/multiethnic environments.