- Neighborhood Governance in Portland, Oregon: An Analysis of Public Involvement in Urban Planning   click here to open paper content120 kb
by    Key, Nuin-Tara | nuintara@gmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Portland is renowned for its established neighborhood associations and their function in urban planning processes, however analysis reveals shortcomings. This case recommends how to improve neighborhood governance structures and planning processes.
Portland, Oregon has often served as a model of participatory democracy especially in the realm of planning and urban policy. The City of Portland has a long established system of neighborhood associations that evolved out of neighborhood activism of the late 1960s. This system is praised as a successful model of community engagement in a time of waning public involvement and declining civil society. However, a more in-depth analysis of the history of the neighborhood association governance system reveals that there are limitations and shortcoming to this system. This paper demonstrates that the political process of Portland’s neighborhood association system of local government¬¬ relies on political, economic and social capital to influence urban policy, and that this process––when used as the sole mechanism for social change––directly reinforces the stratification of political power between white and minority populations. This shortcoming is rooted in the neighborhood association model, or civic model, as it is referred to in this paper. However, there are strengths to the current neighborhood association system: first, the civic model can legitimize public participation in the face of changing political leadership; and second, it can adapt as a hybrid with other participation models. This paper provides recommendations on how to strengthen neighborhood governance structures to better provide inclusive and sustainable access to urban planning processes with specific focus on engaging typically disenfranchised urban residents.
Public Participation, Inclusive, involvement, neighborhood governance, urban planning, equity
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