Comprehensive Community Initiatives:

A New Generation of Urban Revitalization Strategies

Kristina Smock
Department of Sociology
Northwestern University


A new generation of neighborhood organizing and community development efforts has emerged over the past decade. Sponsored by national and local foundations, community organizations, and city governments, these Comprehensive Community Initiatives (CCIs) all share a common commitment to urban revitalization that is comprehensive, locally-based, centered on citizen participation, involves public-private partnerships, and collaboration of multiple agencies. This paper will examine the characteristics of this new approach, seeking to understand why CCIs are becoming an increasingly dominant force in urban revitalization efforts. I will also explore some of the possible ramifications of this new approach -- both positive and negative -- and will offer suggestions for how to maximize the approach's benefits while avoiding its potentially negative implications.


Over the past decade, dozens of neighborhood revitalization efforts that fit the definition of Comprehensive Community Initiatives have emerged across the country. The following profiles of several recent neighborhood initiatives illustrate the characteristics that make these efforts unique, and demonstrate why experts have identified them as the new generation of urban renewal strategies. However, because of the newness of the initiatives and the difficulties involved with evaluating such multi-faceted efforts, limited information is available about the projects. The profiles presented here are largely based on program descriptions provided by the projects themselves. While they provide valuable insights into the nature and scope of each of the projects, they do not form a solid basis for an in-depth analysis of the strengths and limitations of the comprehensive community initiative model. Therefore, while this paper will incorporate references to these profiles, my analysis will primarily draw on the lessons of past neighborhood initiatives and on sociological studies of neighborhood issues.

The Atlanta Project: In 1991, former President Jimmy Carter launched The Atlanta Project (TAP). Its goals are "to empower citizens to develop solutions to the problems they identify in their neighborhoods and [to] foster collaboration among government agencies, other services providers, people who want to help, and those who need help throughout the area"  (1) TAP includes a target area of 500,000 people which has been divided into 20 clusters. Cluster coordinators (who must reside in the area) work with resident steering committees to develop strategic plans for each cluster. Each cluster is matched with a corporate partner which provides organizational skills and resources. The work of the individual clusters is coordinated by an Advisory Committee that includes leaders from corporations, nonprofits and local government as well as cluster representatives.(2)

Sandtown-Winchester: In Baltimore, the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood has been the focus of a collaborative effort initiated in 1990 by the City of Baltimore, the Enterprise Foundation, local residents, and two neighborhood organizations. For decades the Sandtown-Winchester area and its population of 10,000 have been plagued by high unemployment, poverty, substandard and vacant housing, vacant lots, and illegal dumpsites. Community residents participated in a strategic planning process facilitated by professional staff provided by the partner organizations: "A set of guiding principles framed the design process, including [the] involvement of community residents in increasingly central roles in all initiative activities." (3) This process resulted in the identification of specific project goals within four areas: health and human services, education, physical/economic development, and community building. Projects include housing rehabilitation, economic development, job training, linking residents to jobs created by neighborhood renewal activities, and creating cooperation between service providers.(4)

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative: In 1984, Boston's Riley Foundation brought together thirty community agencies to develop a revitalization plan for the impoverished Roxbury neighborhood. When this coalition presented their plan at a community meeting, residents rejected the proposal, insisting on a greater role for neighborhood residents in the project. The result was the formation of DSNI, a collaborative of residents, social service agencies, businesses and churches from the targeted area. The group's early successes included getting several illegal trash stations closed, restoring a rail stop to downtown Boston, and cleaning up vacant lots. In 1987 they developed a comprehensive five year strategic plan that included housing development, job creation, environmental health projects and more. One of their primary goals was to gain control of the area's vacant land in order to clean it up and develop it. In an unprecedented agreement with the city of Boston, DSNI was given the right of eminent domain over thirty acres of publicly and privately owned land in their neighborhood. DSNI's other accomplishments include the creation of an integrated network of local service providers, affordable housing and economic development, and youth training and employment initiatives. (5)

Target Area Designation Program: In 1995, the Bureau of Housing and Community Development of the City of Portland, Oregon launched a community development program designed to revitalize low and moderate income communities by channeling city funding to targeted neighborhoods. The Target Area Designation Program (TADP) awards up to $100,000 over a three year period to community-based organizations to implement comprehensive revitalization strategies in small geographic areas. TADP funding supports the implementation of neighborhood action plans which have been developed through a democratic community process. Each target area is sponsored by a community-based organization which coordinates the action plan implementation process through a paid staff coordinator. In addition to receiving financial support, the target areas also receive technical assistance through BHCD staff and consultants. BHCD also works with target areas to facilitate linkages with services provided by other city programs and non-profit organizations.(6)

Core City Neighborhoods: In 1984 a Catholic Bishop and a nun began doing door-to-door outreach in Detroit in an effort to rekindle their deteriorating neighborhood. Their initial organizing efforts resulted in the development of Core City Neighborhoods (CCN), a nonprofit organization which now has 16 employees and hundreds of volunteers. CCN's mission is to "strengthen the social and human development needs of the community...and to rebuild or develop the physical and economic base of the area."(7) The organization has a 50-year revitalization plan that was developed through neighborhood surveys and planning workshops. To achieve its goals, CNN collaborates with businesses, banks, and community organizations. Its accomplishments include affordable housing rehabilitation, after-school and summer programs for children, job creation, and business counseling to local entrepreneurs.(8)

National Foundation Initiatives: In response to the success of some of the early CCIs, several major foundations have launched pilot projects in an effort to test the effectiveness of this new approach. The Ford Foundation's Neighborhood and Family Initiative (NFI), the Annie Casey Foundation's New Futures Program, the Rockerfeller Foundation's Community Planning and Action Programs, and recent projects of the Pew Charitable Trust all focus on targeting urban neighborhoods with comprehensive projects that utilize corporate and community partnerships to address neighborhood needs.(9) In a program description which is emblematic of all four foundations' approaches, the Ford Foundation identifies two principles which have guided the NFI: "The first is a notion of neighborhood-focused, comprehensive development. It involves the formation and implementation of strategies that harness the interrelationships among social, physical and economic development,....The second principle is that it is necessary to have the active participation, in both planning and implementation, of residents and stakeholders in the neighborhood targeted for development." (10)


As these profiles demonstrate, the new generation of neighborhood initiatives includes a wide variety of projects and approaches. However, despite their diversity, the programs share several key characteristics were are common to them all. These characteristics can be identified as follows:

1. Citizen Participation: Each initiative emphasizes the notion that "successful programs emerge from empowered communities that participate proactively in all phases of program planning, implementation, and evaluation."(11) Residents' own understanding of their neighborhood's needs are seen to be at least as important as expert analysis.(12) In addition, the commitment to citizen participation reflects a belief that resident empowerment and involvement are key components of successful revitalization strategies.(13) Citizens can usually get involved in these initiatives in a variety of ways, such as by attending neighborhood meetings, playing leadership roles on project planning committees, and volunteering for hands-on neighborhood projects.

2. Locally-Based Approach: All the projects involve the targeting of relatively small, geographically defined inner-city neighborhoods. While the population and size of the target areas vary, almost all the initiatives focus on geographic units which are locally identified as single neighborhoods. This is based on an acknowledgment that today's inner cities are characterized by densely concentrated pockets of poverty. In addition, there is a belief that such comprehensive, holistic approaches can only succeed when they involve a small, manageable area.(14)

3. Comprehensive Approach: CCIs view the problems of urban neighborhoods as inter-connected, and thus approach them in a holistic way. Unlike piecemeal approaches, CCIs address issues such as poverty, inequality, disinvestment, and unemployment as a web of inter-related problems. In addition, CCIs address these problems on multiple levels -- individual, family, neighborhood, and city.

4. Collaborative Public-Private Partnerships: A central tenet of the CCI approach is the commitment to collaboration between residents, corporations, community-organizations, foundations, and local government. This is based on the notion that all communities have inherent assets and resources which can be brought together to solve problems. CCIs believe that successful neighborhood initiatives require the involvement of all community stakeholders. "Community building is rooted in the belief that strategies to improve the quality of life in impoverished urban communities must be designed around the specific assets, needs, institutional relationships and existing power structures of the target communities."(15)

5. Consensus-Orientation: Inherent in the notion of collaboration is the idea that relationships between all the stakeholders must be based on consensus rather than confrontation. This focus on consensus is a dramatic departure from the confrontational, demand-oriented approach that characterized citizen participation in the Community Action Program and the Alinsky-style organizing of the 1970s: "The consensual strategy...unites the community to gather resources rather than identifying the causes of problems and pressuring the sources of power." (16)


The Historical Roots of Comprehensive Community Initiatives

While Comprehensive Community Initiatives represent a unique approach to neighborhood improvement, it is important to note that, taken individually, their strategies are not new. Neighborhood initiatives throughout the century have included various components of the CCI approach. What is unique about the new initiatives is the way in which they have combined these elements.(17)

Neighborhood initiatives have been a popular strategy for urban revitalization since the late 1880s when reformers began to identify the neighborhood as an ideal base for addressing the problems of the industrial city. At the turn of the century, the most common form of neighborhood initiative was the social settlement house. Staffed by upper- and middle-class women, settlement houses provided a variety of services to neighborhood residents and advocated for modest social reforms. One of their primary goals was the acculturation of immigrants and low-income residents into middle class America through education and the transmission of cultural norms.

In the 1930s, the economic insecurities of the great depression fueled the emergence of more radical forms of neighborhood initiative which focused on the empowerment of the poor. In contrast to the social welfare approach of the previous era, initiatives of the 1930s and 1940s worked to mobilize low income residents to challenge the existing power structure. The most influential of these efforts was the work of Saul Alinsky, whose confrontational approach was rooted in a belief that the interests of community residents inherently conflict with the interests of those in power.

In contrast to these radical efforts, the prosperity of the 1950s brought with it the emergence of neighborhood maintenance organizations, designed to protect the interests of middle class homeowners from the encroaching inner city and its problems. These organizations were focused on improving the neighborhood by working through existing political and legal channels in cooperation with local officials.

In the 1960s, the pressures of the civil rights movement and increasing urban poverty once again shifted the nature of neighborhood initiatives. The Ford Foundation's Gray Areas Project and the federal government's Community Action Program demonstrated a new faith in the power of the local community to solve its problems through partnerships with national actors. These projects were designed to give community based organizations direct funding to implement comprehensive programs to combat poverty. Implicit in this strategy was the notion that an empowered community would be able to pressure local bureaucracies and institutions to better meet their needs.

In the 1970s, backlash against these programs resulted in a dramatic decrease in federal funding to cities and a retreat from the concept of empowerment. In response, neighborhood organizations shifted their focus from empowerment to community improvement. Community development corporations began to work for physical development through private sector investment, and Alinsky-style organizations began to fight primarily for neighborhood improvements rather than political power.

In the 1980s, the trend toward partnership-based initiatives continued as organizations responded to increasing federal cutbacks and the privatization of public services. Declaring that government social programs cause dependency and increased poverty, the Reagan and Bush administrations dramatically decreased the federal government's financial commitment to urban programs. As a result, confrontational tactics by neighborhood groups became less and less productive: "Local government officials argued that they, too, were sympathetic to the issues but did not have the resources to address them."(18) In light of the limited resources available from the public sector, neighborhood organizations were compelled to seek partnerships with businesses and local government in order to accomplish their goals. This inevitably resulted in a shift to consensus-based strategies that contrasted dramatically with the political empowerment tradition of the 1930s,1960s, and --to some degree-- the 1970s: "The absence of public support, ...and the necessity of seeking funds from and joining in partnerships with private sector leaders all push CDCs away from politics and an analysis of power. This lack of fiscal and political support has forced CDCs to accommodate themselves to rather than redirect the course of the free market."(19)

Another characteristic of the Reagan-Bush era was a shift of responsibilities from the public to private sector. Public services such as garbage collection and street repair, which in previous eras had been frequent targets of neighborhood organizing efforts, were transferred to the private sector. As a result, neighborhood organizations' ability to hold public service providers accountable to citizens' needs was undermined: "Privatization delegitimizes social action, dissolving public issues into private matters...Effective community organizing requires a legitimate and accountable public sector.... Privatization represents a serious threat [to this]".(20) Thus, in the 1980s, neighborhood organizations tended to focus more on community development through partnerships and collaboration, rather than on demanding reforms from local government. In conjunction with this shift, organizations began to emphasize the importance of professionalism, strong management, and effective administration of programs. What had once been grassroots groups often developed into large, professional organizations that took a business-like approach to their neighborhoods.

Comprehensive Community Initiatives as an Adaptation of Previous Approaches

As in previous eras, the emergence of a new generation of initiatives in the late 1980s reflects both an attempt to respond to worsening conditions in inner cities over the previous decade and an effort to accommodate new political and economic realities. The increasing concentration of urban poverty in the 1980s, accompanied by a wide range of interconnected social problems, drove organizations to explore new strategies for improving urban neighborhoods. The new approach -- the comprehensive community initiative -- combines and adapts many of the most successful features of past neighborhood initiatives.

The community-based orientation of CCIs and their commitment to local citizen participation are rooted in the programs of the 1960s, such as the Community Action and Grey Areas Programs. However, CCI organizers have very consciously rejected one key component of the 1960s initiatives. These initiatives were designed to build the power of low-income residents so that they could apply pressure and win concessions from local government and bureaucratic institutions. Almost from its inception, the Community Action Program (CAP) was criticized for this commitment to political empowerment and confrontational tactics. Critics argued that the CAP's efforts to facilitate citizen participation in local decision making created irresolvable contradictions by organizing residents to fight government and the business community while at the same time trying to convince these entities to do more for the poor. Wishing to avoid these contradictions, the neighborhood initiatives of the 1990s have redefined the notion of citizen participation to include local corporations, city government, and citizens working together towards a common goal. So, instead of mobilizing residents to pressure local government and institutions for their needs, the new initiatives encourage all community stakeholders to work together collaboratively.

This focus on collaboration is not only an attempt to avoid the mistakes of the CAP, it is also a response to the economic realities of the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1980s decreased funding forced neighborhood groups to forge partnerships with local government and the private sector. With federal funding to cities still at very low levels, the new initiatives continue to have to rely on private sector investment in order to achieve their revitalization goals.

However, in contrast to the efforts of the 1980s, recent initiatives have demonstrated a new commitment to re-integrating neighborhood mobilization strategies into this partnership-based model. Despite their commitment to consensus, these organizations are utilizing Alinsky-style mobilization tactics in order to get neighborhood residents involved as active participants in local initiatives. Another distinction between the partnership-based models of the 1980s and 1990s is the comprehensiveness of the new initiatives. Whereas in the 1980s organizations tended to focus on single issues such as housing or economic development, current efforts have a multifaceted approach. CCIs attempt to address the inter-related issues that affect today's inner cities with comprehensive, long-term strategies.

An Emerging National Consensus on Rebuilding Communities

Throughout the history of neighborhood initiatives, shifts in strategies and approaches have often reflected changing theories about poverty, democracy, and community. In the 1990s, the new generation of neighborhood initiatives is emerging within the context of a growing national consensus about the importance of rebuilding communities. At the federal level, the Clinton administration has based its urban policy agenda on the concept of government serving as a catalyst to develop strong networks of citizens, community organizations, and businesses in inner-city neighborhoods. Unlike the administrations of the 1960s (which saw the federal government as a partner and funder of local initiatives) or the 1970s and 1980s (which believed that the federal government should play a minimal role in local initiatives), Clinton's approach emphasizes the role of government in creating and sustaining strong, self-sufficient communities. Clinton's policies reflect a commitment to the same strategies which characterize the comprehensive community initiatives. For example, the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community project provides tax incentives and block grants to target areas in order to encourage private sector investment, local collaboration, and comprehensive service provision.(21)

The national commitment to rebuilding self-sufficient communities is also reflected in the rising popularity of three interwoven movements: The communitarian movement, the civil society movement, and the asset-based community development movement. The communitarians, led by Amitai Etzione, present strong communities as the solution to contemporary social ills: "Our ultimate purpose is to provide an opportunity for deep human satisfaction, the kind found only when we are engaged with one another, and to strengthen the community as a moral infrastructure..."(22) The communitarians focus on the value of local self-sufficiency and civic responsibility. They believe that a stable, well-functioning society is characterized by strong local communities working together to solve problems: "[A]s a rule every community ought to be expected to do the best it can to take care of its own...whether the problem is mounting garbage, crime, drug abuse, or any of the well known host of social problems that beset us, the first responsibility lies with those who share a community."(23)

The communitarian emphasis on rebuilding local capacity is echoed in the writings of civil society theorists, such as Robert Bellah and Robert Putnam. The concept of civil society focuses on the importance of citizenship, responsibility, and social institutions. Robert Putnam captures these notions with the concept of social capital: "In any comprehensive strategy for improving the plight of America's communities, rebuilding social capital is as important as investing in human and physical capital... Social capital is not a substitute for effective public policy but rather a prerequisite for it and, in part, a consequence of it."(24) Thus, the notion of civil society centers on the importance of strengthening the social infrastructure of local communities through citizen participation and collaborative effort.

John McKnight, author of Building Communities From the Inside Out (25) shares this view of the importance of local institutions and community empowerment. McKnight emphasizes the deleterious effect of need-based approaches to urban revitalization. He asserts that every community has assets and resources which can be used to solve problems. He calls for communities to mobilize local residents, community associations, and institutions to create an asset-based approach to local development. His emphasis on collaboration and community strength has been incorporated into neighborhood planning strategies in cities throughout the nation.

The current prominence of these theories on community building suggests that the emergence of the Comprehensive Community Initiatives is part of a broader shift in priorities away from individual and government responsibility and toward community self-sufficiency. In the next section I will examine how CCIs put these theories into action and the implications of this movement towards greater community control.


Citizen Participation:

Citizen participation has many potential benefits, both to individuals and communities. It builds a sense of community amongst residents and thus strengthens the neighborhood. Participation also ensures that the initiative is appropriate for the neighborhood since residents are well qualified to identify their community's problems and assets and to design projects to address these issues. Involvement in the planning process also makes citizens more committed to the neighborhood improvement projects. In addition, resident participation provides the initiative's coordinating organization with legitimacy as a community entity. Finally, involvement can also help individual residents to build important skills.

Participation increases a neighborhood's sense of community and their confidence in their ability to effect change. In a recent study of participation in neighborhood associations, Berry, Portney, and Thomson conclude that "[w]orking together with one's neighbors does not merely solve problems, it creates shared values and bonds to the community... There is a strong and positive relationship between level of participation and sense of community."(26) By strengthening community bonds, participation also increases residents' ability to improve their neighborhoods. Arlene Eisen studied several neighborhood initiatives which had succeeded in gaining the support and involvement of a majority of community residents and concluded that the process of citizen participation had a profound effect: "As a result of the community empowerment process, these neighborhoods -- as collectives-- have changed their self image, overcome social stereotypes, and demonstrated that their ability to take collective social action is self-sustaining."(27)

Participation also gives residents a sense of pride and ownership that is an essential component of the success of the project: A recent General Accounting Office evaluation of several comprehensive community initiatives concluded that "significant community development takes place only when residents are committed to investing themselves and their resources in the effort...[C]ommunity development experts...also said that without residents' involvement, results were often short-lived."(28) The success of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative demonstrates the power of citizen participation. The initiative has been able to unify an extremely diverse target area through the use of an inclusive participatory process designed to give all members of the community a share in decision making. And, because of the initiative's strong community support, DSNI has gained the respect and support of the Boston city government as well as numerous funders and partners.(29)

Another important benefit of community participation is that it ensures that the resulting programs are relevant and appropriate to the particular needs and character of the neighborhood. Outside experts are unlikely to have enough familiarity with a community to be able to identify the residents' most pressing needs, the interconnections between these needs, and the most effective ways to address them. Perhaps more importantly, outside experts tend to focus on a community's problems and are rarely aware of the vast array of resources and assets that are an inherent part of every neighborhood, no matter how poor: "Expert driven programs are frequently based on the assumption that inner city problems stem from the cultural or social deficits of those communities. At best, such programs cannot take advantage of cultural strengths and community assets....At worst, they may reinforce social inequity, racist policies, and ethnic destruction."(30)

The importance of citizen participation in creating programs which are relevant to the community is demonstrated by the Target Area Designation Program. This city-sponsored initiative provides funding and support to eight geographically-defined target areas. In each area staff coordinators work with residents to develop strategic plans to guide their revitalization efforts. As a result, each target area's community development work is uniquely tailored to the particular needs and resources of that area. It is unlikely that a professional planner would have been able to identify the subtle differences and distinctive features of each target area and translate them into appropriate plans.(31)

Resident participation also provides the initiative's coordinating organization with social and political legitimacy as a voice of the community.(32) This not only increases the organization's power with partners, particularly city government, but it also increases residents' willingness to commit to the project. For example, in DSNI, residents rejected a neighborhood plan put together by a social service consortium because they had not been involved in the planning process. However, once a new planning process was developed that prioritized resident involvement, hundreds of residents became active and committed participants in the project.(33) In addition, because of the high level of neighborhood support and participation in the planning process, once the plan was completed, the city adopted it as its official plan for improving the neighborhood.(34)

In addition to strengthening the community and increasing the effectiveness of the initiative, citizen participation can also help individual residents to develop important skills. Through their involvement with organizing and implementing hands-on projects, residents gain valuable experience in meeting facilitation, budget preparation, strategic planning, fundraising, event coordinating, media relations, public speaking, and research. These skills not only increase the leadership capacity of the neighborhood as a whole, but they also influence other aspects of residents' lives. For example, a welfare recipient who had never held a job became an active participant in the Target Area Designation Program. As she began to develop skills and blossom as a leader, she was offered a job as a tenant organizer in her neighborhood. The self-confidence and skills that she gained in this position propelled her to enroll in college and begin planning a future career as a social service professional.(35) Similarly, many of the members of DSNI's large staff are community residents who developed their skills as program volunteers.(36)

While citizen participation has many positive implications, it also has the potential to dis-empower local communities. The concept of citizen participation is often used to legitimate the withdrawal of external support for the community. Citizen participation can also be a euphemism for the control of city government by local elites. Finally, initiatives which are not committed to the participation of citizens in decision making, and instead want only to involve residents as volunteers, tend to make citizens feel used and manipulated.

Citizen participation is often used as a euphemism for placing full responsibility for neighborhood problems on the residents themselves. For example, New Paradigm Republicans such as Jack Kemp, James Pinkerton, and Stuart Butler have developed an "empowerment agenda" which is ostensibly designed to combat poverty by giving residents greater power and control over their lives. In actuality, their agenda is little more than a justification for the removal of federal support for social welfare programs. For example, they promote tenant management and ownership of public housing buildings as a way to shift the financial and managerial burden of public housing from government to tenants. Similarly, instead of providing the resources necessary to reform inner-city schools, they promote school voucher programs. New Paradigm proponents describe vouchers as a way to empower citizens by giving them choice and control; in fact vouchers absolve government of responsibility and rely on the free market to solve school problems.(37) Thus, the rhetoric of citizen participation can be used to shift the burden of responsibility for inner city problems from the government to the residents themselves.

Another of the dangers of citizen participation is that it can be used to mask control of the community by local elites. "Citizens" are not necessarily just the residents of a target neighborhood; the official definition of "citizen" includes anyone who is not a member of government. As a result, in some cities, the involvement of corporate leaders and real-estate owners in local decision making is promoted with the rhetoric of citizen participation. For example, Cleveland was named the All-America City several times in recent years for its commitment to "civic participation and community leadership."(38) However, the achievements for which it won this distinction primarily consisted of projects which strengthened the involvement of local corporate elites in city government. One of its most prominent "civic partnerships", called Cleveland Tomorrow, was a task force formed by the CEOs of the region's largest corporations to develop a plan for future growth in the region and to set the business agenda for the metropolitan area.(39) As this example demonstrates, the concept of citizen participation does not necessarily mean the involvement of actual grassroots community residents; in fact, it sometimes results in the dis-empowerment of local residents through the privileging of corporate interests in local decision making.

The concept of citizen participation can also be dis-empowering when it is defined as involvement of residents as project volunteers but not as participants in the decision-making process. In a study of neighborhood organizations in New York, Delmos Jones discovered that many groups defined citizen participation in bureaucratic rather than democratic terms. For example, the Sunwick West Community Development Corporation developed a decision-making model in which the directors of local organizations were invited to participate in a neighborhood planning process. Not only were these directors not residents of the neighborhoods, but they were often middle class professionals who could not be assumed to represent the broad interests of the community. In contrast, neighborhood residents were encouraged to become involved only when mobilization was needed around a specific issue. "Such mobilization, while sometimes successful, leaves the public no more informed about urban political processes than they were previously."(40) In her recent evaluation of CCIs, Arlene Eisen concludes that initiatives that promote participation by "seeking residents' input in needs assessments and encouraging residents' attendance at events staged by the initiative", rather than by giving residents control over decision-making processes, are unlikely to effect meaningful change: "Despite a commitment to comprehensive change, this...strategy shows little potential for challenging the institutional dependency of low income neighborhoods."(41)

In conclusion, while citizen participation has many potential benefits, the concept of participation can also be used to legitimate practices which can have very negative consequences. When participation is defined as the active involvement of local residents in all aspects of the initiative -- and particularly in decision-making -- it has the power to strengthen the community, to increase the effectiveness of the initiative, to ensure the legitimacy of the sponsoring organization, and to build the skills and confidence of individual residents. However, when citizen participation is used as a euphemism for removing external support from the community or for involving residents as volunteers but not as decision-makers, then it becomes a tool for dis-empowering local residents.

Locally-Based Approach

The targeting of resources to geographically defined local communities has several potential benefits. It enables initiatives to be more effective by concentrating limited resources in relatively small areas. Targeting specific neighborhoods also facilitates the mobilization of community residents and local resources.

The combined realities of limited resources and multi-dimensional urban problems mean that local targeting may be the only way to achieve even minimal success. Faced with the choice of providing piece-meal programs over a dispersed area, or targeting one community with intensive programming designed to address the vast array of local needs, many governments and foundations are choosing the latter option. This is primarily based on the realization that the piece-meal programs of the past have not been successful because of the inter-relatedness of urban problems. "Neighborhood-based initiatives, by concentrating limited resources, ... increase the likelihood of achieving a critical mass in developing programs that can have an impact."(42) The effectiveness of targeting is demonstrated by the success of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. DSNI was initiated by the Riley Foundation, a local Boston funder which had begun to despair at the ineffectiveness of funding a wide variety of projects dispersed throughout the city. Riley decided that, in order to actually make a difference, they would select one of Boston's neediest neighborhoods and channel their resources into that area. This infusion of resources has enabled DSNI to implement an ambitious, multi-faceted strategy to transform the neighborhood.(43)

Another advantage of targeting local communities is that the mobilization of residents and stakeholders is much more feasible in a self-contained area. Local residents have greater incentives to participate in projects which will affect their immediate neighborhood. In addition, low-income residents face fewer obstacles to participation in locally-based projects: "Neighborhood-based initiatives facilitate the participation of grassroots people. Relative ease of transportation, childcare provision, and levels of social comfort of neighborhood-based activities make social action more accessible to low income residents."(44) Corporate actors and other stakeholders are more likely to feel a responsibility to their local community, and they have greater incentive to participate in targeted efforts since their involvement will be more visible. For example, in The Atlanta Project each cluster is matched with a corporate sponsor which provides resources and expertise, usually through a loaned executive. Each corporation obtains greater publicity and can exert greater influence over their local community by working as the primary corporate participant in a single cluster.(45)

An important limitation of targeted approaches is that many of the problems faced by local communities were not created by the community and can not be solved through local action. The dynamics of inner city neighborhoods are often controlled by government entities and corporations from outside the community. Local community groups rarely have the influence or resources to affect the decisions of these outside actors.

Much of the literature on neighborhood initiatives emphasizes that the power of local communities is limited.(46) In Rebuilding the Inner City: A History of Neighborhood Initiatives to Address Poverty in the United States, Robert Halpern concludes that locally-based approaches to poverty are inherently flawed by their inability to address the larger social and political climate:

Several sociological analyses of neighborhood dynamics illuminate why local organizations may be powerless to affect many of the community's problems. In "Capital and Neighborhood in the United States", Harvey Molotch argues that neighborhoods are created to fulfill the needs of capital, and are thus controlled by capitalist interests: "[T]he shape of the city, the deployment of land uses and users, and -- by implication -- the future of residential neighborhoods follow from the needs of the accumulation process."(48) He describes a process whereby rentiers build neighborhoods as sites of production and the reproduction of labor. They compete for capitalists' business by working to generate the local conditions that will best meet capitalists' needs. This climate includes "the degree, for example, to which police power is seen to be in routine service of capital; the extent and style of unionization prevalent; the mode of welfare payments to the poor...."(49) Thus, neighborhood building is merely a "side-effect" of the attraction of productive capital to a particular site. Molotch's analysis suggests that neighborhood self-help groups will only be successful to the extent that their desires coincide with the needs of outside capital.

Albert Hunter provides a similar argument for the limits of neighborhood efficacy but focuses instead on the political process. Hunter describes the efforts of community organizations that fought local government only to realize that local concessions could not solve their problems. "[A]s local organizations battled, and often 'won' concessions or victories from a lower level of government, e.g., City Hall, they quickly realized that little had changed in the neighborhoods. This was, in part, because City Halls had little direct control over the actions of actors that were in fact generating the problem or too few resources to affect the problem in any measurable way."(50) In order to achieve their goals, the groups eventually had to transcend the local neighborhood and build national coalitions. Thus, while the ability of local groups to affect national political issues is limited, federations of local groups do have the power to make some impact nationally.

In an effort to address these limitations, CCIs recently formed a national federation. The National Community Building Network (NCBN), formed in 1993, has already achieved a voice in national political discussions about effective approaches to urban renewal. For example, Clinton administration officials incorporated NCBN's input in the design of the Empowerment Zone program.(51) However, despite this success, the federation will likely have little power to affect the larger political and economic processes which create and sustain inner-city inequities.

In conclusion, while local targeting may be the most effective way to achieve certain goals, it poses limitations on the kinds of issues the initiative can address. By channeling resources to small neighborhoods, initiatives are able to provide comprehensive programs which would be economically unfeasible on a larger scale. Similarly, local targeting facilitates the mobilization and involvement of community stakeholders. Thus, targeting maximizes the initiatives' ability to leverage local resources to create comprehensive services and programs. However, local initiatives are relatively powerless to affect a wide range of issues, namely those which are controlled by state and federal government or by large national corporations.

Comprehensive Approach

The primary benefit of the comprehensive approach is that it addresses the inter-relationship between various urban problems. Given the complex, inter-connected nature of today's urban problems, multi-faceted strategies hold greater promise for success than single-issue approaches. Comprehensiveness also enables the community to develop a long-term strategy rather than focusing on piece-meal, year-to-year programs.

There is a general consensus among CCI organizations (and among many academics and policy analysts as well) that the persistence of urban problems can be attributed to the disjointed, piece-meal character of existing programs. "[T]here has been an increasing recognition of the limits of narrowly defined, categorical strategies. For example, new housing has been built in many distressed communities without much attention having been given to the social problems facing its occupants. Social services have been carried out as if in a vacuum, separate from the conditions in the neighborhood."(52) Comprehensive approaches are designed to remedy this problem on two levels: (1) through the integration of existing social service systems so that the multiple needs of individual residents can be addressed by a network of service agencies working collaboratively, and (2) through the development of community action plans designed to address multiple issues simultaneously.

Recognizing that building affordable housing will not solve homelessness if residents are not able to acquire jobs, and that job training is not effective if there are no jobs available, CCIs seek to understand the community's problems as an organic whole that must be addressed comprehensively. The logic of this approach is illustrated by the Sandtown-Winchester project. In the planning process, the community identified housing, job training, and job creation as top priorities. Creating three programs to address these issues would have required considerable resources and administrative work and would not necessarily have been effective. Instead, the project developed an integrated program in which neighborhood residents received construction training and jobs while building affordable housing for the community.(53)

Another benefit of the comprehensive approach is that it enables the community to create a long-term revitalization strategy. In contrast to piece-meal programs which are generally designed to address immediate needs, and are rarely able to build on the successes of other programs, comprehensive approaches can take into account the long-term effects and inter-relationships between various programs. "The ability of many of the new initiatives to balance a holistic, long-term vision of the community and immediate action to address discreet exemplary... [T]he new initiatives have not been overwhelmed by the pressing imperative to do everything at once, rather they have learned to hold some things in abeyance without abandoning them."(54) For example, participants in the Target Area Designation Program wanted to start a neighborhood foot-patrol and block watch program. However, they realized that in order to make these projects work, community residents would need to be able to trust one another. Participants decided to spend a year building community trust before launching the foot-patrol and block watches. They organized neighborhood festivals, potlucks, a holiday sing-a-long, and community meetings. By the end of the year the sense of solidarity amongst community members was so strong that the foot-patrol and block watches were able to be successfully implemented.

Despite their benefits, comprehensive initiatives are very difficult to implement, and thus can potentially do more damage than good. Multi-faceted approaches are very vulnerable to failure because they require intensive resources, administration, and management. In addition, the long-term, holistic goals of these strategies mean that their impact may not be felt for several decades.

Strategies which address a broad range of neighborhood issues require large amounts of funding, and are challenging to administer and manage. Many community-based organizations are not able to juggle the complex demands created by a comprehensive approach, and the initiatives can fail as a result. Comprehensive strategies can easily overwhelm the staff and financial resources of small grassroots agencies. Even large non-profit organizations may not be able to meet the challenge of CCIs if they are not set up to administer complicated and multifaceted programs. The General Accounting Office's report on CCIs emphasizes that the strength and stability of the coordinating organization often determines the success of the project.

Another drawback to comprehensive projects is that their success is often difficult to measure. The ambitious goals of most CCIs may take a generation or longer to achieve.(55) For example, Core City Neighborhoods is working to implement a 50-year strategic plan.(56) In addition, the holistic approach is far more difficult to evaluate than traditional, piece-meal programs. For instance, one of the primary goals of many CCIs is the leadership development of local residents, which is impossible to quantify. In contrast, programs that target specific issues, such as teen pregnancy or job training, are fairly straight-forward to measure. According to a University of Chicago study, "traditional evaluations are rarely designed to measure the depth and complexity of factors occurring at the neighborhood level or to relate the cause and effect of changes over time."(57)

In conclusion, while the potential benefits are substantial, implementing a comprehensive approach is a risky undertaking. The multi-faceted, long-term approach enables a community to develop a strategy for addressing all of its problems in a holistic way. If these strategies are successful, they have the capacity to significantly transform neighborhoods. However, these ambitious programs are difficult to organize and implement. Communities which are unable to effectively administer their comprehensive action plans over the long-term risk failure. And, the failure of a multi-faceted program -- with all of its partnerships, resources, and high expectations -- will be far more costly than the failure of a single-issue program.

Collaboration and Public-Private Partnerships

Given the contemporary reality of limited public investment in inner-cities, collaboration enables communities to maximize the available resources. Collaboration can include cooperation between community organizations, neighborhood residents, corporations, local government, and foundations. Each of these entities has access to valuable assets and resources which can benefit the community. In addition, collaboration has the potential to build mutual respect and understanding among neighborhood stakeholders, thus strengthening the community as a whole.

Partnerships between local community organizations and service providers enable them to create comprehensive programs without developing expertise in new areas: "Representatives from the organizations said that collaborating -- while difficult and time consuming -- allowed them to use the skills and expertise of other organizations without necessarily developing the same capacity themselves."(58) For example, Core City Neighborhoods' successful youth program was developed through collaborations with a local church and school. The church offered facilities and transportation, CCN was able to provide staff and grant funding, and the school recruited students to participate.(59)

Partnerships with local corporations, banks and foundations are a key source of funding and technical assistance for Comprehensive Community Initiatives. For example, The Atlanta Project has a five-year operating budget of $32.8 million which comes entirely from corporations and foundations. The project includes almost four-dozen corporate partners, many of whom make cash contributions and supply loaned executives to work with specific clusters. In addition, corporations work with TAP to develop specific projects such as the Entreprenurial Development Loan Fund. The fund, which was created through partnerships with six banks and the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, provides loans for local entrepreneurs.(60)

Partnerships with city governments are a key component of many CCIs. Local government can often provide funding for projects through Community Development Block Grants and other revenue sources. In addition, the government is able to adjust zoning regulations, permit fees, and other local ordinances to assist CCIs in accomplishing their goals. For example, the Boston city government has provided the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative with extensive financial, political, and technical assistance. Most notably, the city granted DSNI the power of eminent domain over 30 acres of vacant land in their target neighborhood.(61)

Collaboration also has the potential for transforming the relationships between neighborhood stakeholders. The partners in a collaboration share their unique perspectives on neighborhood issues, which increases their understanding of one another and their respect for each others' needs. According to The Collaboration Project of the Donor's Forum of Chicago, this process strengthens the community: "Having made the choice to collaborate -- a choice that demands individual and institutional self-effacement in favor of commitment to the group -- members are transformed. They act collectively, sharing disappointments and celebrating successes. Once again, relationships shift in fundamental ways."(62)

Successful collaboration involves balancing the interests of residents, community organizations, government and corporations. Because these interests are often in opposition to one another, collaboration can sometimes become a struggle between competing groups for control over the community. When this struggle is not effectively mediated, collaborative efforts can become dominated by the more powerful members of the partnership.

Community power dynamics often are reflected in the collaboration process. Corporations generally have more resources and influence than residents and community groups. Because they have the upper-hand, corporate actors may only be willing to engage in collaboration when it fits their interests: "Business may help communities when it makes good business sense. But the profit motive and investment demands destroy low income communities much more often than they help them...."(63) Thus, collaborative programs risk becoming dominated by the interests of capital.

If the collaboration process is effectively mediated by a strong neutral party or community organization, the effects of uneven power dynamics can often be mitigated. However, when the planning process is controlled by the corporate partners and does not accord equal respect to each group's interests, then business domination of the collaboration is a likely outcome. Businesses often collaborate with citizens in an effort to gain support for pre-existing plans, rather than to work together to develop a plan. This can be dis-empowering for citizens: "For collaboration to succeed, all stakeholders need to be brought in from the beginning....Even though all parties may really want the same thing, coming to a meeting of the minds is a painful and anger-filled experience, especially if one or more parties has the perspective that they have been left out of the process in some way."(64)

Richard Taub's study of voluntary associations in Chicago ("Urban Voluntary Associations, Locality Based and Externally Induced") demonstrates the potential for corporate interests to dominate community initiatives. He asserts that community organizations are often formed, strengthened, or sustained by corporations which need them as channels of communication and social control: "[I]f national corporations and organizations or agencies of the national or metropolitan governments are to operate successfully within the local community, they must have a social structure with which to interact, both to gather information and to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the local residents...."(65) Thus, while residents and community organizations may feel that they are collaborating with corporations in order to achieve a common good, the corporations may be using the community to achieve their own goals.

In conclusion, while the collaborative approach can be an effective way to leverage resources from the local community, it has the potential of being dominated by the more powerful members of the partnership. Community residents and neighborhood organizations often need to work collaboratively with corporations, other non-profits, and local government in order to achieve their goals. However, these partnerships need to be carefully mediated in order to ensure that all the partners' interests are taken into account. Because of the uneven power dynamics inherent in collaborative approaches, there is the potential for corporate interests to dominate the planning process.


The consensus-based approach that characterizes Comprehensive Community Initiatives has several potential advantages over a more conflictual model. The consensual approach is far more appropriate for developing collaborative partnerships between community stakeholders and local government. It also has the potential for strengthening the community by compelling all stakeholders to work together towards a common goal.

One of the key benefits of the consensus-based approach is that collaboration between citizens, government, community organizations and corporations is not possible with a conflictual model. As John McKnight points out, community building requires trust and cooperation between all the stakeholders in the neighborhood. If community organizations and citizens use contentious strategies to force government and businesses to address local needs, they will inevitably alienate these entities, and will create internal strife.(66) Thus, if the goal is to strengthen the self-sufficiency and internal capacity of the community, consensus is absolutely necessary.

An important by-product of a consensus model is that it can foster unity and harmony among participants, thus strengthening their commitment to work towards a common good. In Beyond Adversary Democracy, Jane Mansbridge argues that when participants have shared interests, consensus-based, "unitary" democracy can motivate them to understand one another and to focus on their common goals: "[T]he central assumption of unitary democracy is that, while its members may initially have conflicting preferences about a given issue, goodwill, mutual understanding, and rational discussion can lead to the emergence of a common enlightened preference that is good for everyone."(67) Thus, the CCIs' consensus model has the potential to re-orient community stakeholders away from their individual interests and towards the common good. Michael Eichler, who pioneered the consensus organizing model, argues that "by participating in the CDC consensual approach corporate types become more active and aware of social problems, city officials see community organizing as valuable instead of threatening, and neighborhood residents feel more empowered and get more control over community resources."(68)

Despite its positive potential, a consensus-based model can also be dis-empowering for community residents . The emphasis on agreement can mask inherent conflicts amongst the interests of the different partners. In addition, a consensual decision-making process can become dominated by members who are more influential and persuasive than others, thus in effect over-riding minority opinions.

Effective consensus-based decision making requires all members to express their views and to discuss their differences until agreement can be reached. However, when there are uneven power dynamics between members, this process can become dominated by the more influential members. In situations where the interests of group members conflict, this can be especially problematic. Mansbridge asserts: "The claim that people have common interests a way of misleading the less powerful into collaborating with the more powerful in schemes that mainly benefit the latter."(69) Since Comprehensive Community Initiatives bring together citizens, corporations, and governments, this concern is particularly salient.

Another negative implication of a consensus-based model is that it often masks the fact that citizens, corporations, and government have competing interests. In fact, not only do they have different interests, corporations and government are frequently the source of citizens' problems. Mansbridge asserts that an emphasis on consensus can obscure the important distinctions between each player's goals: "[T]he pressure for consensus suppresses information. More importantly, it suppresses information in a way that benefits the most powerful."(70) Thus, by focusing on building partnerships between these groups, CCIs are unable to address the role of corporations and government in fostering inequality and instability in the community. This in turn limits the CCIs' potential for success: "The new partnerships between the community, voluntary, public, and business sectors will remain problematic as long as the latter are the chief causes of the problems communities face." (71)

In conclusion, while the consensus-based approach has some important benefits, it also has the potential to dis-empower the less dominant stakeholders. It seems clear that a consensus model is far more appropriate than a confrontational one for the CCIs' collaborative approach. However, the non-contentious nature of the consensus-based decision making process may lull participants into a false sense of harmony. Unless all community stakeholders are able to assert their interests with equal force, the consensus process can become a vehicle for the imposition of dominant members' interests.


The five characteristics of the Comprehensive Community Initiative model each have potential benefits as well as potential drawbacks. How can initiatives structure their approach to ensure that they maximize the positive aspects of this model? In this section I will explore some of the program characteristics which are most likely to contribute to beneficial outcomes.

Resident Control

The highest priority for neighborhood initiatives should be guaranteeing resident control. If residents have a strong voice in decision-making processes, and if the neighborhood action plan is developed through a democratic, citizen-based planning process, then the negative implications associated with the citizen participation, collaboration and consensus-based aspects of the model will be minimized.

With an empowered group of residents involved in decision-making, the local government will not be able to use the concept of citizen participation to legitimize control by elites or to justify withdrawal of support for the community. Similarly, if residents have control over the project, corporations will be less able to advance their own interests at the expense of citizens' interests. And, if residents have a strong voice in decision making, the consensus model will be less likely to silence their views. Thus, many of the negative aspects of the CCI model can be minimized through an emphasis on citizen control of the planning and implementation processes.

The importance of resident control in minimizing the drawbacks of the CCI model suggests that an initiative's level of commitment to resident control will play an important role in determining the success of the initiative. In her recent evaluation of seventeen CCIs across the country, Arlene Eisen found resident control to be a key factor in the success and sustainability of the projects:

Thus, initiatives that incorporate planning processes and decision-making procedures that ensure resident control of the project are far more likely to reap the benefits of citizen participation, collaborative strategies and a consensus-based model than are projects in which residents are merely included for input and as volunteers.

Strong Coordinating Organization

The second program characteristic which is likely to produce positive outcomes is the presence of a strong, respected community organization to coordinate the initiative. A strong coordinating organization can minimize the negative aspects of the comprehensive and locally based approaches. The coordinating organization can also facilitate a planning and decision making process which ensures resident control.

A multi-faceted strategy will only be successful if it is implemented by an organization which is able to administer it effectively. The comprehensive approach requires initiatives to seek funding from a broad range of sources and to concurrently manage multiple projects. Without competent, professional staff, these challenges can potentially overwhelm an organization. Richard Taub echoes this conclusion in his study of Chicago neighborhoods:

In addition to managing multiple projects, a strong coordinating organization can overcome some of the limitations of a locally based approach by forming coalitions with other neighborhood organizations. Federations such as the National Community Building Network are often able to gain a voice in national political decision-making. However, the power of such federations extends only to certain aspects of the political process. The ability of neighborhood-based initiatives to affect the broader economic and political context will be inherently limited, and there is little else that local groups can do to overcome this reality.

A strong coordinating organization can also facilitate a planning process that gives residents a solid voice in decision making. Effective facilitation will ensure that collaborative strategies are not dominated by the interests of any single partner: Collaborative efforts require "a well-developed structure for working together that includes clear roles and processes for setting directions and making decisions." Thus, skillful leadership by a respected organization "can create the conditions and assemble the resources that enable others to collaborate." (74)

However, in light of the importance of resident control, a strong organization will be effective only to the extent that it is rooted in the community. So, while a highly professional organization that is not community-based will be able to administer multiple projects and form federations, it will probably not be able to ensure that residents' interests are being met. Locally-based organizations which have earned the trust and respect of community residents will have greater success in mobilizing residents to become active participants in the planning process. In addition, community-based organizations are more likely to be aware of the power dynamics in the neighborhood and to understand how residents' interests fit in with those of other stakeholders. The organizations will be able to design planning processes that are sensitive to these neighborhood dynamics and which ensure that residents are in control of decision-making. In contrast, initiatives which are coordinated by foundations, city governments, or corporate entities will face considerable challenges in gaining community trust and citizen involvement, and may be unable to ensure resident control.


This analysis of the new generation of urban revitalization efforts suggests that Comprehensive Community Initiatives may offer viable solutions to contemporary urban problems. The CCI model has emerged over the past decade as a strategic response to the political and economic realities facing America's cities, and it represents a unique approach designed to address the distinctive character of today's urban crisis. The CCI model has the potential to transform distressed neighborhoods into strong, self-sufficient, empowered communities. However, each of the model's core components also has the potential to produce significantly negative outcomes. If the CCI model is to be successful, it must be implemented by strong, community-based organizations which are committed to resident control.


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1. Giles, Michael, "The Atlanta Project: A Community-Based Approach to Solving Urban Problems," National Civic Review (1993:82): 354-363.

2. The Carter Center, "The Atlanta Project," (1995: Handsnet Forum).

3. Halpern, Robert, Rebuilding the Inner City: A History of Neighborhood Initiatives to Address Poverty in the United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995): 210.

4. Ibid

5. U.S. General Accounting Office, Community Development: Comprehensive Approaches Address Multiple Needs But Are Challenging to Implement (Washington, DC: US General Accounting Office, 1995).

6. Smock, Kristina, The Target Area Designation Program: Evaluation Report (Portland, Oregon: Bureau of Housing and Community Development, 1996).

7. US GAO: 55.

8. Ibid.

9. Handsnet Forum on Comprehensive Strategies.

10. Chaskin, Robert, The Ford Foundation's Neighborhood and Family Initiative: Toward a Model of Comprehensive, Neighborhood-Based Development (Chicago: Chapin Hall Center for Children, 1992): 1.

11. Eisen, Arlene, "Survey of Neighborhood-Based, Comprehensive Community Empowerment Initiatives," Health Education Quarterly (1994: 21): 236.

12. Halpern: 198.

13. Stone, Rebecca, "Comprehensive Community-Building Strategies: Issues and Opportunities for Learning" (Chicago: Chapin Hall for Children, 1994).

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.

16. Fisher, Robert, Let The People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1994):188.

17. All information for this section is based on Fisher (1994) and Halpern (1995) except where otherwise indicated.

18. Fisher: 194.

19. Fisher: 185.

20. Fisher: 176.

21. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Empowerment: A New Covenant with America's Communities (Washington, DC: HUD Office of Policy Development and Research).

22. Etzione, Amitai, The Spirit of Community (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993): 142.

23. Ibid: 144.

24. Putnam, Robert, "The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life," The American Prospect (1993: 13): 42.

25. Kretzmann, John and John McKnight, Building Communities From the Inside Out (Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University, 1993).

26. Berry, Jeffrey, Ken Portney and Ken Thomson, The Rebirth of Urban Democracy (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institute, 1993): 290.

27. Eisen: 247.

28. US GAO: 29.

29. US GAO.

30. Eisen: 240.

31. Smock.

32. US GAO.

33. Sklar, Holly and Peter Medoff, Streets of Hope: The Fall and Rise of an Urban Neighborhood (Boston, Masachusetts: South End Press, 1994).

34. US GAO.

35. Information on the Target Area Designation Program is based on my experience as the coordinator of one of the target areas as well as my evaluation of the program for the Bureau of Housing and Community Development.

36. Sklar.

37. Solomon, Burt, "Power to the People?" National Journal (1991) 204-209.

38. Purdy, Janis, "Revitalizing Cleveland: Organizing Citizens to Respond to the Challenge," National Civic Review (1993:82): 116-125.

39. Ibid.

40. Jones, Delmos, Joan Montbach and Joan Turner, "Are Local Organizations Local?," Social Policy (Fall, 1982): 44.

41. Eisen: 248.

42. Eisen: 238.

43. Sklar.

44. Eisen: 238.

45. The Carter Center.

46. see Fisher, Halpern, Jackson.

47. Halpern:223.

48. Molotch, Harvey, "Capital and Neighborhood in the United States," Urban Affairs Quarterly (1979: 14): 291.

49. Ibid: 296.

50. Hunter, Albert, "National Neighborhoods: Communal Class Politics and the Rise of the National Neighborhood Movement," working paper (New Haven, CT: Yale University Institution for Social and Policy, 1991): 19.

51. Handsnet Forum on Comprehensive Strategies.

52. US GAO: 27.

53. Halpern: 208-212.

54. Halpern: 214.

55. US GAO: 27.

56. Ibid: 34.

57. Ibid: 38.

58. Ibid: 44.

59. Ibid: 55.

60. The Carter Center.

61. Halpern: 203.

62. The Collaboration Project, Collaborating for Change in Chicago (Chicago: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 1993): 9.

63. Fisher: 189.

64. The Collaboration Project, Collaboration Makes Good Business Sense (Chicago: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 1993): 6.

65. Taub, Richard, George Surgeon, Sara Lindholm, Phyllis Betts Otti, and Amy Bridges, "Urban Voluntary Associations, Locality Based and Externally Induced," American Journal of Sociology (1977: 83): 426-7.

66. Author's interview of John McKnight, February 1, 1996.

67. Mansbridge, Jane, Beyond Adversary Democracy (New York: Basic Books, 1980): 25.

68. Fisher: 188.

69. Mansbridge: 5.

70. Ibid: 259.

71. Fisher: 189.

72. Eisen: 247.

73. Taub (1984): 185.

74. The Collaboration Project, "Collaboration Makes Good Business...": 8-9.