Building Democracy: Community Development Corporations’ Influence on Democratic Participation in Newark, New Jersey
The study seeks to demonstrate how stakeholders in the US city of Newark, New Jersey, perceive the role community development corporations (CDCs) play in presenting residents with opportunities to engage with their local government. In the United States, CDCs are community-based organizations that work toward revitalizing the built environment and addressing social issues within urban and rural communities. Often, CDCs encourage residents to be more active in local government in order to influence the decisions that most impact their communities. A Q-methodology study of stakeholder perceptions on CDCs’ influence on participation in local government, drawing from Arnstein’s “ladder of participation,” contributes to a better understanding of the subjectivity associated with residents’ participation and the actions that foster or constrain that participation. Research findings suggest that stakeholders perceive CDCs to create and encourage avenues for participation that preserve the existing state of affairs. However, stakeholders’ views also indicate that residents can benefit from initiatives that transfer power away from the public administrator to them.