A model of action research for building neighborhood decision-making capacity

Authors: Janni Sorensen*, UNC Charlotte
Topics: Planning Geography, Development, Applied Geography
Keywords: participatory planning, neighborhood change, community
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This presentation describes a four-phased action research project that emerged over an eight-year period, eventually leading to a $600,000 investment by local government in a new neighborhood park. We demonstrate how we built on each phase of action research initially by establishing and developing relationships, then by increasing participation levels in the neighborhood organization and neighborhood sponsored events; such participation enabled the establishment of a collective vision and ultimately led to the building of social capital and strengthened local political voice and power. We argue that by connecting these four phases, we were able to achieve significant community change in partnership with local neighborhood residents. Our goal is to share this model of action-based research so that it may inform the work of others working in the planning, community development and geography fields. We believe our work supports a framework for more effective and meaningful participation of residents in decision making that leads to neighborhood change. With this presentation, we invite others to test the model with empirical research in a variety of setting to build evidence for its generalizability and for its application in other contexts.

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