Wednesday, January 23, 2013

THE DYNAMICS AND COMPLEXITIES OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN THE INNER CITY



1.0 Introduction
This paper focuses on some critical reviews of strategies to developing the downtowns or inner areas of cities; especially US inner cities. As part of the Urban Planning and Local Economic Development Series, this paper explores the dynamics and intricacies of the strategies for promoting community development in the inner city. Five main articles have been reviewed and implications drawn for urban planning and local economic development. To place the discussion in context, community development has been discussed briefly. Huie (1976) asserts that it is a "process of local decision-making and the development of programs designed to make their community a better place to live and work" while Dunbar (1972) defines community development as "a series of community improvements which take place over time as a result of the common efforts of various groups of people. Each successive improvement is a discrete unit of community development. It meets a human want or need." What is clear about these definitions is that firstly, community development is a process and secondly it involves the collaborative efforts of individuals and groups of a community with the aim of promoting human development. These are the key themes that these five articles espouse and with support from other literature materials the paper examines the various actors, their roles and interest, and the challenges thereof in promoting community development with key emphasis on the inner city of US cities.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

FINANCING LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (LED) IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE LESSONS THEREOFF

1. Introduction
Financing of economic development strategies in the United States from the 1950s has critical implications for urban development today. The understanding and justification for these financing approaches and their effectiveness can help ameliorate urban poverty through the effective and efficient management of local economic development interventions. That notwithstanding, review of these financing approaches by Susan Fainstein, Rachel Weber, Alan Peters and Peter Fischer raises important issues of equity, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability for urban planners and policy analysts. A review of these funding strategies has been done in this paper. This discussion has been subdivided into the various standpoints that these authors have articulated. The paper is in two main sections. The first section espouses the summary and questions from the perspectives drawn by these authors and the implications for urban poverty and local economic development are presented in the subsequent section.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

ISSUES OF URBAN REDEVELOPMENT IN EUROPE AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES


1.1 Introduction
City development and redevelopment over the years have witnessed several strategies and implications for urban settlers in both developed and developing countries. The evolution of these practices has left in its path critical implications for understanding urban planning processes and the institutions that facilitate the process: public; at national and local levels, private sector actors as well as non-for profit organizations in the phase of these interventions. 

Central to this evolution as captured by Shatkin (2000), Hall (2002), Weinstein and Ren (2009) and Fainstein (2011) have been the emerging roles of development bearers in urban areas. Community Based Organization (CBOs), Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) and the private sector and their influence on urban redevelopment interventions in urban areas of developed and developing countries in one way or the other shaped these developments. The themes of urban poverty, urban housing, development-induced displacements and impoverishment, local economic development, decentralization and community participation are espoused in great details in their interventions. Similarly Shatkin (2000), Hall (2002), Weinstein and Ren (2009) and Fainstein (2011) have discussed these issues in critical details. As part of a series of papers (blog articles) on "Urban and Local Economic Development Issues and Strategies", I present the observations of key writers and the implications of their observations for urban planners and policy analysts. 

This paper, the first of eleven others, articulates the observations by Shatkin (2000), Hall (2002), Weinstein and Ren (2009) and Fainstein (2011) in Europe and developing countries to put the discussions in context. This has been supported by other literary materials on the issues they have raised.