Cities are in a constant state of flux. Myriad changes—social, political, economic—can be identified at any particular time. But how might scholars differentiate between small-scale, fleeting changes and more substantial, decisive, and lasting change? This paper draws on the conceptual tools utilized in the subfield of American political development to argue the notion of urban political development—both with respect to “durable shifts in government authority” and to consequential ideational or discursive shifts —can help scholars to identify major, politically consequential shifts that occur at the urban level. It will further argue that urban political development is driven by “intercurrent” clashes among competing urban political “orders,” which are understood as political coalitions, driven by overarching purposes (or ideas) and that capture control of governing institutions. Building on insights of urban scholars Clarence Stone and Joel Rast, the aim of this paper is to reconceptualize urban change theoretically. I will illuminate this theoretical account with examples of urban austerity, and the wave of local minimum wage ordinances, and the rise of the carceral state to show how these important developments reflect underlying competition among neoliberal, progressive, and conservative political orders respectively.