Neighborhood revitalization through `collaboration': Assessing the implications of neoliberal urban policy at the grassroots
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With the increasing involvement of local citizens and community organizations in carrying out urban planning and service delivery functions formerly handled by state institutions, questions have emerged about their implications for the urban political role and influence of community level actors. Some scholars identify these purportedly collaborative neighborhood revitalization initiatives as part of a neoliberal policy program of downsizing the state, while others argue that the new roles assumed by civic institutions offer new opportunities for citizen involvement in urban policy making and priority setting for revitalization. Drawing evidence from the case of a collaborative revitalization program in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this paper suggests that collaborative revitalization efforts may simultaneously foster both tendencies. By way of the new roles they are assuming in urban governance, grassroots organizations may become engaged in reproducing neoliberal priorities and policies at a highly localized level. At the same time, this involvement does not necessarily eliminate possibilities for community organizations to challenge and revise a neoliberal revitalization agenda.
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