Special Issue "Enhancing the Role of Government, Non-Profits, Universities, and Resident Associations as Valuable Community Resources to Advance Equity, Access, Diversity and Inclusion"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ivis García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of City & Metropolitan Planning; The University of Utah; 375 South 1530 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0370, USA
Interests: community engagement, planning in/with minority and low-income (primarily Latino) communities, housing and community development
Dr. April Jackson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University, 330 Bellamy Building, 113 Collegiate Loop, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2280, USA
Interests: affordable housing; planning with communities of color (primarily African American); plan implementation; cultural competency pedagogy; and new urbanism as a tool to revitalize urban communities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is growing interest to enhance the role of government, non-profits, universities, and resident associations as valuable community resources to advance equity, access, diversity and inclusion in an effort to create more just cities.

While previous research and case studies have sought to understand how government, non-profits, and universities, can advance equity—more needs to be understood about how to better include, engage, and represent populations that historically have been left out of the decision-making process. This Special Issue will focus on challenges faced by local actors and innovative methods/solutions explored that support how to better engage and represent residents, neighborhood associations, and individuals in marginalized communities. Of particular interest are topics addressing the problems of segregation, gentrification, housing affordability, transportation access, education inequality, environmental justice, and political representation.

By improving the understanding of practitioners to the differences that exist between the variegated populations (e.g. older adults, young people, low-income individuals, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA individuals, people with disabilities, to mention a few) this Special Issue has a tremendous amount of potential to examine and address issues of racism, marginalization, and discrimination. In addition to understanding underlying issues that reproduce systemic injustice and inequality in low-income but otherwise resourceful communities, this Special Issue also seeks to discover and mobilize community assets as well as provide innovative tools for those seeking to engage with the growing racial diversity of cities.

For inquiries, please contact: Dr. Ivis García ([email protected])
or Dr. April Jackson ([email protected])

Dr. Ivis García
Dr. April Jackson
Guest Editors

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 conceptual papers 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. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). 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.

Keywords

  • Role of government
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Universities
  • Resident / Neighborhood associations
  • Equity
  • Access
  • Diversity
  • Inclusion

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Enhancing the Role of Government, Non-Profits, Universities, and Resident Associations as Valuable Community Resources to Advance Equity, Access, Diversity, and Inclusion
Societies 2021, 11(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc11020033 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1196
Abstract
Asset-based community development (ABCD) recognizes the value of six local assets: (1) individuals or community residents, (2) neighborhood resident associations (3) local institutions (e.g., government, non-profits, and universities) (4), physical space (e.g., parks, vacant lots, etc.), (5) economy and exchange (e.g., business development, [...] Read more.
Asset-based community development (ABCD) recognizes the value of six local assets: (1) individuals or community residents, (2) neighborhood resident associations (3) local institutions (e.g., government, non-profits, and universities) (4), physical space (e.g., parks, vacant lots, etc.), (5) economy and exchange (e.g., business development, barter, etc.), and (6) culture, history, and stories. ABCD draws upon these assets to build stronger and more sustainable communities [1] (see Figure 1) [...] Full article
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Research

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Article
A Critical Discourse Analysis of Representations of Travellers in Public Policies in Ireland
Societies 2021, 11(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc11010014 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 925
Abstract
In Ireland, negative stereotypes of the Traveller population have long been a part of society. The beliefs that surround this minority group may not be based in fact, yet negative views persist such that Travellers find themselves excluded from mainstream society. The language [...] Read more.
In Ireland, negative stereotypes of the Traveller population have long been a part of society. The beliefs that surround this minority group may not be based in fact, yet negative views persist such that Travellers find themselves excluded from mainstream society. The language used in discourse plays a critical role in the way Travellers are represented. This study analyses the discourse in the public policy regarding Travellers in the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) 2017–2021. This study performs a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the policy with the overall aims of showing signs of the power imbalance through the use of language and revealing the discourses used by elite actors to retain power and sustain existing social relations. The key findings show that Travellers are represented as a homogenous group that exists outside of society. They have no control over how their social identity is constructed. The results show that the constructions of negative stereotypes are intertextually linked to previous policies, and the current policy portrays them in the role of passive patients, not powerful actors. The discursive practice creates polarity between the “settled” population and the “Travellers”, who are implicitly blamed by the state for their disadvantages. Through the policy, the government disseminates expert knowledge, which legitimises the inequality and supports this objective “truth”. This dominant discourse, which manifests in wider social practice, can facilitate racism and social exclusion. This study highlights the need for Irish society to change the narrative to support an equitable representation of Travellers. Full article
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Article
Student Housing Choices and Neighborhood Change: Brown University 1937–1987
Societies 2020, 10(4), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10040085 - 08 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1036
Abstract
The formal ambitions and societal expectations of anchor institutions have shifted over time. Many universities have evolved from walled-off enclaves, to self-interested urban redevelopers, to mutual gain negotiators. Detailed accounts exist of universities, as anchor institutions, directly displacing low-income communities of color by [...] Read more.
The formal ambitions and societal expectations of anchor institutions have shifted over time. Many universities have evolved from walled-off enclaves, to self-interested urban redevelopers, to mutual gain negotiators. Detailed accounts exist of universities, as anchor institutions, directly displacing low-income communities of color by utilizing the higher education provisions of urban renewal. This case study of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, adds to this history by documenting the university’s contribution to the diminution of a working-class neighborhood of color specifically through student residency philosophies and policies, enrollment expansion, and real-estate decisions, during 1937–1987. Brown University’s choices played out in a neighborhood already scarred by interstate highway construction and urban renewal. Drawing from primary source materials on institutional decision-making this work examines the transformation of Brown University’s models of student housing amidst evolving community concerns about the demolition of historic properties and push back around increasing displacement pressures. Several issues and research directions for the new era of equity centered anchor work emerge from this historical recounting of an anchor institution’s student housing choices. Full article
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Article
Storytelling and Arts to Facilitate Community Capacity Building for Urban Planning and Social Work
Societies 2020, 10(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030064 - 07 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1415
Abstract
Creating social connections and fostering engagement in communities is a growing challenge for community work. Planners, social workers, and community activists are starting to look towards the arts and storytelling as a way to promote community capacity. A community in Lopez Island, Washington, [...] Read more.
Creating social connections and fostering engagement in communities is a growing challenge for community work. Planners, social workers, and community activists are starting to look towards the arts and storytelling as a way to promote community capacity. A community in Lopez Island, Washington, facing sustainable housing and agricultural issues brought in a two-day storytelling and theatre program to build capacity for their ecosocial work. This research describes facilitator engagement methodology and pilots a community capacity survey to evaluate the experience of workshop participants. Preliminary results show that the storytelling program makes strides in deepening connections to others and generating authentic dialogue. Participants reported both positive experiences of building trust and negative feelings of vulnerability. As funding can be a major barrier for community groups to incorporate arts programs, this research introduces a preliminary survey that communities can adapt and improve upon to help them start gathering evidence-based data for assessing measures of community capacity. Though the facilitators brought unique theatrical and choreographic skills to the programming, planners and social workers can take away for practice a simple storytelling exercise that participants enthusiastically expressed fostered listening, trust, and connection. Full article
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Article
Gown Goes to Town: Negotiating Mutually Beneficial Relationships between College Students, City Planners, and a Historically Marginalized African-American Neighborhood
Societies 2020, 10(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030061 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2065
Abstract
University–community partnerships have long sought to develop interventions to empower historically marginalized community members. However, there is limited critical attention to tensions faced when community engaged courses support urban planning initiatives in communities of color. This article explores how three Florida State University [...] Read more.
University–community partnerships have long sought to develop interventions to empower historically marginalized community members. However, there is limited critical attention to tensions faced when community engaged courses support urban planning initiatives in communities of color. This article explores how three Florida State University planning classes sought to engage the predominantly African-American Griffin Heights community in Tallahassee, Florida. Historically, African-American communities have been marginalized from the planning process, undermining community trust and constraining city planning capacity to effectively engage and plan with African-American community members. In this context, there are opportunities for planning departments with relationships in the African-American community to facilitate more extensive community engagement and urban design processes that interface with broader city planning programs. However, mediating relationships between the community and the city within the context of applied planning classes presents unique challenges. Although city planners have increasingly adopted the language of community engagement, many processes remain inflexible, bureaucratic, and under resourced. Reliance on inexperienced students to step in as community bridges may also limit the effectiveness of community engagement. Thus, while community engaged courses create opportunities to facilitate community empowerment, they also at times risk perpetuating the disenfranchisement of African-American community members in city planning processes. Full article
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Article
Preservation without Representation: Making CLG Programs Vehicles for Inclusive Leadership, Historic Preservation, and Engagement
Societies 2020, 10(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030060 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1801
Abstract
This article examines public historic preservation agencies’ ability to support social inclusion aims within the context of the Certified Local Government (CLG) program. Though administered by the Texas Historical Commission, Texas’ State CLG program is federally-funded and makes available special access to technical [...] Read more.
This article examines public historic preservation agencies’ ability to support social inclusion aims within the context of the Certified Local Government (CLG) program. Though administered by the Texas Historical Commission, Texas’ State CLG program is federally-funded and makes available special access to technical assistance, grants, and loans to qualifying communities contingent on compliance. Program surveys the state staff administered to city and county historical commissions with the CLG designation indicate challenges around diversifying their leadership and identifying training opportunities. This article reviews those surveys to detect insights into how the state CLG program can create spaces in which local commissions can increase their “representativeness” through changes in assessment and training content. Specifically, I analyze two government assessment tools used to evaluate local CLGs’ ability to meet federal and state training and participation expectations. I compare these survey results to self-assessment activities and questionnaires collected during a pilot training on implicit bias, outreach, and cultural resource surveying I conducted with multiple CLGs in Gonzales, Texas. Findings suggest more creatively designed training and capacity building is necessary around inclusion, identifying structural barriers to participation, and foundational knowledge of historic preservation and planning practice, and ethics. Full article
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Article
An Asset-Based Perspective of the Economic Contributions of Latinx Communities: An Illinois Case Study
Societies 2020, 10(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030059 - 29 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1557
Abstract
The study aims to measure Latinx share of economic activities and highlight and its increasing role in the economic future of their state. As a methodology we use input-output model-based IMPLAN to calculate the economic footprint of Latinx in Illinois. We demonstrate how [...] Read more.
The study aims to measure Latinx share of economic activities and highlight and its increasing role in the economic future of their state. As a methodology we use input-output model-based IMPLAN to calculate the economic footprint of Latinx in Illinois. We demonstrate how this labor force has allowed the state to expand production and purchasing power. In the conclusion we discuss how this line of investigation allows us to explore what decision makers can do to facilitate a Latinx action agenda from the asset-based perspective. Full article
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Article
Bridges Don’t Make Themselves: Using Community-Based Theater to Reshape Relationships: Rethinking the Idea of Abundance in ABCD
Societies 2020, 10(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030054 - 21 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1022
Abstract
Community-based theater has a variety of manifestations, and the plurality with which these manifestations are occurring is increasing. As such, the diversity and complexity derived from these social sites of public engagement requires further understanding. This article is based upon a multi-case study [...] Read more.
Community-based theater has a variety of manifestations, and the plurality with which these manifestations are occurring is increasing. As such, the diversity and complexity derived from these social sites of public engagement requires further understanding. This article is based upon a multi-case study of two community-based theaters: one in Middle Appalachia, and the other on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Together these sites of performative expression are acting as social interventions for differing reasons within their respective contexts. Through intensive and communicative processes, the theaters provide examples of how co-created performances at the community level simultaneously catalyze relationships and alter how relationships are experienced to engage community members in discussion and performances. As a complex behavioral interaction, the two theaters simultaneously manifest dimensions of ‘abundance’, as well as expand upon normative conceptions of asset-based community development. Through process and contextual modeling, the work provides in-depth exploration to these interpersonal endeavors to assist in how socio-cultural differences as well as narrative reconstruction co-join to enact the individuality of identity across working groups as an overall discursive process. Full article
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Article
Welcome to Canada: Why Are Family Emergency Shelters ‘Home’ for Recent Newcomers?
Societies 2020, 10(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10020037 - 07 May 2020
Viewed by 2285
Abstract
Although Canada is recognized internationally as a leader in immigration policy, supports are not responsive to the traumatic experiences of many newcomers. Many mothers and children arriving in Canada are at elevated risk of homelessness. Methods: This study utilized a community-engaged design, grounded [...] Read more.
Although Canada is recognized internationally as a leader in immigration policy, supports are not responsive to the traumatic experiences of many newcomers. Many mothers and children arriving in Canada are at elevated risk of homelessness. Methods: This study utilized a community-engaged design, grounded in a critical analysis of gender and immigration status. We conducted individual and group interviews with a purposive sample of 18 newcomer mothers with current or recent experiences with homelessness and with 16 service providers working in multiple sectors. Results: Three main themes emerged: gendered and racialized pathways into homelessness; system failures, and pre- and post-migration trauma. This study revealed structural barriers rooted in preoccupation with economic success that negate and exacerbate the effects of violence and homelessness. Conclusion: The impacts of structural discrimination and violence are embedded in federal policy. It is critical to posit gender and culturally appropriate alternatives that focus on system issues. Full article
Article
Three Local Organizing Strategies to Implement Place-Based School Integration Initiatives in a Mixed-Income Community
Societies 2020, 10(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010013 - 27 Jan 2020
Viewed by 1018
Abstract
This paper explores two policy efforts to revitalize public housing communities: education reform and HOPE VI. Chicago underwent transformation of housing and schools from 2000 to 2014. I examine school integration planning efforts of three local actors in a Chicago neighborhood and ask [...] Read more.
This paper explores two policy efforts to revitalize public housing communities: education reform and HOPE VI. Chicago underwent transformation of housing and schools from 2000 to 2014. I examine school integration planning efforts of three local actors in a Chicago neighborhood and ask how do actors make integration strategies work? This research investigates how efforts to remedy existing segregation in a Chicago neighborhood combined housing and school integration efforts through a single case study approach comprised of 20 in-depth interviews. Findings show that two approaches encouraged fairness in the residential mix, but did not promote an integrated educational experience. The third approach shows how a purposeful integration strategy works as part of a place-based effort. This study provides a lens to understand ongoing local community organizing efforts supporting education reform in a Chicago neighborhood and offers lessons learned by local actors about effective approaches to address the barriers to building mixed income communities. Full article

Other

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Concept Paper
Pushing Back on Displacement: Community-Based Redevelopment through Historically Black Churches
Societies 2021, 11(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc11010010 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Gentrification and subsequent displacement are common problems in cities, and result in the removal of poor communities and communities of color from urban areas as they move to cheaper locations in the metropolitan region. Here we describe a community-based approach to redevelopment by [...] Read more.
Gentrification and subsequent displacement are common problems in cities, and result in the removal of poor communities and communities of color from urban areas as they move to cheaper locations in the metropolitan region. Here we describe a community-based approach to redevelopment by historic Black churches that seeks to counter such displacement and cultural removal. We explain the history of a historically Black neighborhood in Seattle and the founding and rationale for a church-led project called the Nehemiah Initiative. Our perspective is that of participants in the work of the Nehemiah Initiative and as faculty and students from a local university partner supporting it. We conclude with policy strategies that can be used to support such redevelopment in Seattle, with understanding that some may be broadly applicable to other cities. Full article
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