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
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
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 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. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 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 (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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Open AccessArticle
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
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
Open AccessArticle
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
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
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