Special Issue "Community Development for Equity and Empowerment"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 August 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Professor Robert Silverman

Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: non-profit sector; the role of community-based organizations in urban neighborhoods; education reform; shrinking cities; and inequality in inner city housing markets

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In cities and settlements across the world, calls for equitable community development policy are unparalleled. The forces of globalization, neoliberalism, and accompanying austerity measures pose new challenged to practitioners engaged in community development and advocacy work. This special issue on “Community Development for Equity and Empowerment” examines strategies to navigate these challenges across a number of domains. Manuscripts are invited that examine issues related to: affordable housing, access to education, police accountability, social welfare, environmental justice, public participation, social movements, and other areas of community development.

Manuscripts that are empirical, theoretical, comparative, advocacy oriented and focused on perspectives of excluded groups and the dispossessed are encouraged. In an effort to attract the broadest possible scope of viewpoints and facilitate submissions from a diverse group of scholars, article processing charges are waived for this special issue of Societies.

Dr. Robert Silverman
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: Community Development for Equity and Empowerment
Societies 2018, 8(4), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040119
Received: 26 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
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Abstract
In cities and settlements across the world, calls for equitable community development policy are unparalleled. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)

Research

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Open AccessArticle The University, Neighborhood Revitalization, and Civic Engagement: Toward Civic Engagement 3.0
Societies 2018, 8(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040106
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 14 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
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Abstract
This essay analyzes and syntheses key theories and concepts on neighborhood change from the literature on anchor institutions, university engagement, gentrification, neighborhood effects, Cold War, Black liberation studies, urban political economy, and city building. To deepen understanding of the Columbia University experience, we
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This essay analyzes and syntheses key theories and concepts on neighborhood change from the literature on anchor institutions, university engagement, gentrification, neighborhood effects, Cold War, Black liberation studies, urban political economy, and city building. To deepen understanding of the Columbia University experience, we complemented the literature analysis with an examination of the New York Times and Amsterdam newspapers from 1950 to 1970. The study argues that higher education’s approach to neighborhood revitalization during the urban renewal age, as well as in the post-1990 period, produced undesirable results and failed to spawn either social transformation or build the neighborly community espoused by Lee Benson and Ira Harkavy. The essay explains the reasons why and concludes with a section on a more robust strategy higher education can pursue in the quest to bring about desirable change in the university neighborhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Single-Family Rental REITs on Regional Housing Markets: A Case Study of Nashville, TN
Societies 2018, 8(4), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040093
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 15 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
The U.S. Congress authorized the creation of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in 1960 so companies could develop publically traded real estate investment portfolios. REITs focus on commercial property, retail property, and rental property. During the last decade, REITs became more active in
[...] Read more.
The U.S. Congress authorized the creation of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in 1960 so companies could develop publically traded real estate investment portfolios. REITs focus on commercial property, retail property, and rental property. During the last decade, REITs became more active in regional housing markets across the U.S. Single-family rental (SFR) REITs have grown tremendously, buying up residential properties across the country. In some regional housing markets, SFR REITs own noticeable shares of single-family homes. In those settings, SFR REITs take large numbers of housing units off of real estate markets where homeownership transactions occur and manage these properties as part of commercial rental inventories. This has resulted in a new category of multiple property owners, composed of institutional investors as opposed to individual investors, which further exacerbates property wealth concentration and polarization. This study examines the socio–spatial distribution of properties in SFR REIT portfolios to determine if SFR REIT properties tend to cluster in distinct areas. This study will focus on the regional housing market in Nashville, TN. Nashville has one of the most active SFR REIT sectors in the country. County tax assessor records were used to identify SFR REIT properties. These data were joined with U.S. Census data to create a profile of communities. The data were analyzed using SPSS statistical software and GIS software. Our analysis suggests that neighborhoods with clusters of SFR REITs fit the SFR REIT business model. Clusters occur in communities with newer homes, residents with higher levels of educational attainment, and middle to upper-middle incomes. The paper concludes with several recommendations for future research on SFR REITs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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Open AccessArticle Perceived Social Networks and Newborn Health: Evidence from Self-Help Group Communities in Northern India
Societies 2018, 8(4), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040092
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 7 September 2018 / Accepted: 15 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
The limitations of individual level interventions in changing behaviors to improve global maternal, newborn and child health have generated more interest in the patterns of social influence and decision making embedded in families, friends and communities. The purpose of this study is to
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The limitations of individual level interventions in changing behaviors to improve global maternal, newborn and child health have generated more interest in the patterns of social influence and decision making embedded in families, friends and communities. The purpose of this study is to expand the understanding of village dynamics in India and how first degree social and advice networks and cognitive perceptions of 185 recently delivered women (RDW) in areas with and without women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) affect immediate breastfeeding. Data was collected in 6 blocks and 36 villages in Uttar Pradesh, India. The expansion of RDW’s social worlds and creation of social capital through the organization of Self-Help Groups in their villages allowed us to examine basic relationships and advice formation as well as perceptions of interconnectedness of known groups. RDW living in SHG villages and blocks had consistently higher numbers of relationship ties, health advice ties and higher density of health advice networks than RDW living in the non-SHG areas. RDW’s perceived knowing ties were also significantly higher between family and health workers in the SHG areas with related higher immediate breastfeeding rates. These results suggest that SHGs can accelerate community social capital and promote more accountability in the health system to engage with families and support the change from traditional to more evidence-based health practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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Open AccessArticle Re-Inventing Community Development: Utilizing Relational Networking and Cultural Assets for Infrastructure Provision
Societies 2018, 8(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030084
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 7 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
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Abstract
Utilizing relational networking and cultural assets provide an arena for village development associations (VDAs) to fill the gaps in infrastructure in resource-limited communities of Cameroon’s north-west region. This case study interrogates the foundational thesis of relational networking and cultural assets deployed to deal
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Utilizing relational networking and cultural assets provide an arena for village development associations (VDAs) to fill the gaps in infrastructure in resource-limited communities of Cameroon’s north-west region. This case study interrogates the foundational thesis of relational networking and cultural assets deployed to deal with social development challenges. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with community participants. Purposive sampling was used, and data were analyzed and critically synthesized with comparative literature. Communities increasingly shoulder their own development through a multiplicity of the agency displayed by internal and external stakeholders. The analysis captures a typology of incremental cultural assets, galvanized and re-engineered, promoting a rejuvenated community. A multi-layered approach centered on intersecting elements with unvarying input from community members are perceptible. Though the translational benefits are not clear-cut, relational networking and incremental cultural assets hold the prospect for community transformation in infrastructure provision, for example, supply of fresh water, equipping schools, community halls, and building roads, bridges, and community halls. In the process, social inequality and other barriers of disadvantage are narrowed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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Open AccessArticle Symbolism, Collective Identity, and Community Development
Societies 2018, 8(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030081
Received: 28 July 2018 / Revised: 1 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract
A focal point of this article is symbols (e.g., flags) and how low-income communities use them to construct ownership over spaces that would have otherwise been inaccessible to them. This conception of contested ownership through symbolism helps us to elaborate the main point
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A focal point of this article is symbols (e.g., flags) and how low-income communities use them to construct ownership over spaces that would have otherwise been inaccessible to them. This conception of contested ownership through symbolism helps us to elaborate the main point of this article: how low-income communities continuously battle gentrification through symbols. The following article employs interviews and a theoretical framework on symbols and collective ethnic identity to understand how they operate in the appropriation of space by applying a case study of Humboldt Park, Chicago, and the Puerto Rican community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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Open AccessArticle Homeownership: What Does Houston Habitat for Humanity Homeowners Have to Say?
Societies 2018, 8(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030076
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 4 September 2018
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Abstract
Homeownership, labeled as the American Dream, confers several benefits to the individual homeowner and their children, the homeowners’ community, and the national economy. Several policies and programs have been established to promote homeownership. One of such organizations is Houston Habitat, a subsidiary of
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Homeownership, labeled as the American Dream, confers several benefits to the individual homeowner and their children, the homeowners’ community, and the national economy. Several policies and programs have been established to promote homeownership. One of such organizations is Houston Habitat, a subsidiary of Habitat for Humanity International. A sampling procedure was implemented to examine the perceptions of homeowners on previous residence and their current Habitat home. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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Open AccessArticle “They’re Not Building It for Us”: Displacement Pressure, Unwelcomeness, and Protesting Neighborhood Investment
Societies 2018, 8(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030074
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 4 September 2018
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Abstract
In some of Camden, NJ’s most underdeveloped neighborhoods, new investment is perceived as a catch-22. Such investment is badly needed, but residents fear gentrification and the creation of white spaces. Our study examines that puzzle, that residents protest badly needed investment, using ethnographic
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In some of Camden, NJ’s most underdeveloped neighborhoods, new investment is perceived as a catch-22. Such investment is badly needed, but residents fear gentrification and the creation of white spaces. Our study examines that puzzle, that residents protest badly needed investment, using ethnographic and interview data from residents and Camden, NJ, as a case study for examining community understanding of gentrification. In doing so, we draw upon gentrification literature that focuses on displacement pressure and exclusionary displacement, but argue that the Camden case points towards a different dimension of gentrification. Our findings show how (1) exclusion and “unwelcomeness” created by the development of white spaces is conceptualized by residents as being distinct from the impact such exclusion has on future displacement and (2) that residents internalize that exclusion from white spaces, dampening their support and increasing their resistance for new development. Our findings represent a contribution to the discussion on displacement pressure, which focuses primarily on exclusion through financial and economic pressure on residents, and shows that racialized exclusion is, itself, a fundamental element of residential fear of gentrification. We point to an opportunity to address fears of gentrification not only through economic means but also by focusing on issues of access and exclusion in urban space as a direct response to such residential fears. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
Open AccessArticle Creating Communities of Choice: Stakeholder Participation in Community Planning
Societies 2018, 8(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030073
Received: 2 August 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
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Abstract
Community stakeholders can be valuable allies to city officials engaged in downtown regeneration and community planning. This project highlights the force of engaging such allies in planning initiatives. It focuses on a long-neglected community that was once a thriving African American cultural and
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Community stakeholders can be valuable allies to city officials engaged in downtown regeneration and community planning. This project highlights the force of engaging such allies in planning initiatives. It focuses on a long-neglected community that was once a thriving African American cultural and commercial hub. Organized as a city-university collaborative, the project brought together a cadre of community stakeholders: a planning studio professor and graduate students; a professional planner; architects; preservationists; and area residents, business owners and community leaders. Stakeholders held several meetings to evaluate the overall needs of the area, discuss options that would allow the concurrency of neighborhood revitalization, historic preservation and commercial economic interests while adhering to existing design guidelines. The group’s work culminated in a proposed land use plan that is sensitive to the needs of families, businesses and the city’s revitalization efforts. The plan calls for creating built spaces that complement the natural environment and encourages integrating green initiatives with regenerative efforts. It proposes creating active parks; cultural, arts and entertainment districts; and zoning that allows for single and multifamily housing. It transforms the district into one that is mixed-use, economically viable, family-oriented and preserves the area’s authentically historic and cultural assets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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Open AccessArticle Uncovering ‘Community’: Challenging an Elusive Concept in Development and Disaster Related Work
Societies 2018, 8(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8030071
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In all areas of academic or practical work related to disaster risk, climate change and development more generally, community and its adjunct community-based have become the default terminology when referring to the local level or working ‘with the people’. The terms are applied
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In all areas of academic or practical work related to disaster risk, climate change and development more generally, community and its adjunct community-based have become the default terminology when referring to the local level or working ‘with the people’. The terms are applied extensively to highlight what is believed to be a people-centred, participatory, or grassroot-level approach. Today, despite, or because of, its inherent ambiguity, ‘community’ tends to be used almost inflationarily. This paper aims to analyse the way the concept of ‘community’ has come into fashion, and to critically reflect on the problems that come with it. We are raising significant doubts about the usefulness of ‘community’ in development- and disaster-related work. Our approach is to first consider how ‘community’ has become popular in research and with humanitarian agencies and other organisations based on what can be considered a ‘moral licence’ that supposedly guarantees that the actions being taken are genuinely people-centred and ethically justified. We then explore several theoretical approaches to ‘community’, highlight the vast scope of different (and contested) views on what ‘community’ entails, and explain how ‘community’ is framing practical attempts to mitigate vulnerability and inequity. We demonstrate how these attempts are usually futile, and sometimes harmful, due to the blurriness of ‘community’ concepts and their inherent failure to address the root causes of vulnerability. From two antagonistic positions, we finally advocate more meaningful ways to acknowledge vulnerable people’s views and needs appropriately. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
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