Service quality variation across urban space: First steps toward a model of citizen satisfaction

Janet M. Kelly, David Swindell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


There is currently a strong focus on alternative service delivery models and improved government service in the urban and public administration fields. A key aspect of this has been the institutionalization of performance measurement and benchmarking as core tools necessary to reinvent government and make agencies run like businesses. However, the focus on performance measurement has been limited to evaluations of inputs and outputs. Advocates have not successfully tackled the more difficult challenge of integrating good internal measures with service outcomes, which can best be measured by soliciting feedback from the customer through citizen surveys. In this article, we examine 96 neighborhoods across 12 cities and counties and find significant variation in the distribution of service satisfaction outcomes. We argue that such neighborhood-level feedback is useful and illustrates the importance to administrators of disaggregating traditional performance measures to the same neighborhood level to target scare resources more effectively where needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-288
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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