Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Kobrak


This study provides a detailed description of the one-stop permit and plan review center, an organizational innovation that is being introduced in numerous U.S. cities to improve governmental performance. The change represents a streamlining of local development review and code compliance functions.

Utilizing a qualitative methodology, the research records this one-stop application's diversity of form, contrasts it with the system it replaces, explores therationale and process that led to its adoption, and enumerates its useful features. The research is based on case studies of three Midwestern cities of comparable size: Grand Rapids, Michigan; Dayton, Ohio; and Des Moines, Iowa.

On another level, this research seeks to test a theoretical framework put forth by Feldman and Khademian (2001) confronting a long-standing dilemma of public governance: "How to manage flexibly and accountably." This study examines that framework in application to the one-stop center, to assess whether there is a tradeoff between flexibility and accountability or whether they can be mutually achieved.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access