ESCAPING THE LOCAL TRAP? THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY-REPRESENTING ORGANIZATIONS IN URBAN GOVERNANCE

Authors


K.-N. Jun, Department of Political Science, Wayne State University, 2071 Faculty Administration Building, 656 West Kirby, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail: kn.jun@wayne.edu.

Abstract

ABSTRACT:  This article explores the potential dangers of parochialism in using community-based associations to represent community interests and the role of these organizations in advising on citywide policies in urban governance. Based on recent theoretical debates on citizen participation at the local level, we analyze whether community-based participation potentially leads to parochial pursuit of community interests at the expense of broader regional goals by investigating the effect of organizational and community characteristics. Using Los Angeles neighborhood councils as an empirical case, this exploratory analysis finds that the nature of neighborhood council members’ civic activities is related to the degree to which they may potentially pursue parochial interests. A similar relationship is found between the geographic location of communities and such pursuits. Lastly, neighborhood council members’ civic activities and other community characteristics also influence their activities concerning advice on citywide policies. These findings suggest ways that neighborhood councils might play a greater role in advising on citywide policies in urban governance.

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