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In recent years, concerned governments, businesses and civic groups have launched ambitious programmes of community development designed to halt, and even reverse, decades of urban decline. But while massive amounts of effort and money are being dedicated to improving the inner-cities, two important questions have gone unanswered: can community development actually help solve long-standing urban problems? And, based on social science analyses, what kinds of initiatives can make a difference? This book surveys what we currently know and what we need to know about community development's past, current and potential contributions. The authors - economists, sociologists, political scientists and a historian - define community development broadly to include all capacity building (including social, intellectual, physical, financial and political assets) aimed at improving the quality of life in low- to moderate-income neighbourhoods. The book addresses the history of urban development strategies, the politics of resource allocation, business and workforce development, housing, community development corporations, informal social organizations, schooling and public security. Ronald F. Ferguson has taught at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983 and is senior research associate at Harvard's Wiener Center for Social Policy. William T. Dickens, a senior fellow in the Economics Studies programme at the Brookings Institution, was previously a senior economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
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About the Author

William T. Dickens, a senior fellow in the Economics Studies program at the Brookings Institution, was previously a senior economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Ronald F. Ferguson has taught at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983 and is senior research associate at Harvard's Wiener Center for Social Policy.

Reviews

"Combined, the essays and commentaries provide insights into ways to use community development initiatives to improve the quality of life in cities, especially central cities." --Louis F. Weschler, Arizona State University, The Social Science Journal, 9/1/2000 "The most substantial product to date of the National Community Development Policy Analysis Network... The writing throughout is thoughtful and reflective. The authors and editors have succeeded in keeping the text nontechnical and free from jargon." --Avis Vidal, Urban Institute, APA Journal, 4/1/2001 "This book surveys what we currently know and what we need to know about communities development's past, current, and potential contributions." -- 'DISP" Switzerland, no. 143; 2000

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