Community Development and Public Administration Theory: Promoting Democratic Principles to Improve Communities, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Community Development and Public Administration Theory

Promoting Democratic Principles to Improve Communities, 1st Edition

Edited by Ashley E. Nickels, Jason D. Rivera


312 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138304734
pub: 2018-04-18
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The concept of community development is often misunderstood, holding different meanings across different academic disciplines. Moreover, the concept of community development has been historically abstracted, not only in the way the concept has been conceptualized in academic studies, but also by the way in which practitioners use the term in the vernacular. Departing from traditional definitions of community development, this volume applies the New Public Service (NPS) perspective of Public Administration to community development to illustrate how public administrators and public managers can engage in community development planning and implementation that results in more equitable and sustainable long-term outcomes.

This book will be of interest to practitioners and researchers in public administration/management, public administration theory, community development, economic development, urban sociology, urban politics, and urban planning. 


'Community Development and Public Administration Theory takes a rare, nuanced – yet much needed – intersectional approach to community development in PA. The text provides useful insights, for scholars and practitioners, into practical strategies that can help to foster equitable and effective policy outcomes. This text a must read for new and seasoned administrators alike.' - Tia Sherèe Gaynor, Assistant Professor of Public Administration, Marist College

'Community development planning and implementation is at the core of the public sector’s impact on residents’ daily lives. Nickels and Rivera apply public administration theories and concepts to the practice of community development. Community Development and Public Administration Theory is a must-read for students, scholars and practitioners interested in local government, community development, citizen participation and economic development research and practice.' - Mohamad G. Alkadry, Professor and Department Head, University of Connecticut

'In this highly readable and practical volume, Nickels and Rivera put The New Public Service to work in creating ways to put citizens at the center of community building efforts. Based on a clearly articulated framework for understanding community development not only as a matter of economics, but also as social justice and empowerment, the authors make a compelling argument for grounding community development in authentic citizen engagement. They make theory practical by realistically exploring what works and what doesn’t and highlighting the challenges and the positive impact of citizen engagement in community development nationally and internationally. This volume will inspire practitioners and academics alike to think differently about community development and spark new and innovative approaches to making communities better.' - Janet Denhardt, Chester Newland Professor of Public Administration, Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California

'This book successfully accomplishes the very important task of bridging the gulf between the scholarship and practice of public administration/policy and community development. It does so by situating community development in models grounded in democratic governance, with a healthy skepticism for devolved and market models of community development, providing examples that show how community development can be community based, instead of organizationally based. The editors and authors are all cutting edge academics and practitioners, writing, researching, and practicing community development outside the mainstream(s). Their work takes place at margins amidst the dispossessed, discarded, and disenfranchised. They ask, and develop practices around, interrogating the systemic power and privileges that typify community development: who is at the table, who is left out, who is advantaged and disadvantaged, whose interests are favored, and how are all of these replicated and reified in practices and outcomes. They argue that community development programs and policies can be enhanced, and more successful for all involved, with a governing model that emphasizes citizen-centered accountability, empowered participation, and deliberation. Every scholar, student, and practitioner in public administration/policy should read this book.' - Cheryl Simrell King, Member of the Faculty, The Evergreen State College

Table of Contents

Foreword: Community Comes First in Community Development

[Carolyn T. Adams]

Introduction: Democratizing Community Development Policy & Administration

[Jason D. Rivera and Ashley E. Nickels]

Part 1: Values and the Policy Environment

1. Defining and Aligning Community Development and Public Administration: Using Administrative Practices and Design to Better Communities

[William Hatcher]

2. Calling for Community Control: Local Organizing and Implications for Community Development Policy

[Amanda D. Clark and Ashley E. Nickels]

3. Fiscal Emergency Management in Michigan: A Misguided Policy Initiative

[David Fasenfest]

4. American Dream, Democratic Nightmare: Refocusing Governmental Approaches to Housing Policy

[Prentiss A. Dantzler]

Part 2: Serving Rather Than Steering

5. Improving the Citizen Participatory Process in Community Economic Development

[Eric Stokan and Erica Raleigh]

6. Representative Bureaucracy and Community Development

[Anthony D. Molina]

7. The Impact of Microfinance Programs on Political Participation: A Study of Rural Indian Women

[Suparna Soni and Jason D. Rivera]

8. Advocating Against the Grain: Nonprofit Advocacy and Human Services

[Zachary D. Wood]

9. Overcoming the Tokenization of People with Disabilities in Community Development

[Erica McFadden and Krystal Downie]

Part 3: Thinking Strategically, Acting Democratically

10. Cross Sector Community Partnerships and the Growing Importance of High Capacity Nonprofits in Urban Governance: A Case Study of Camden, New Jersey

[Kirk A. Leach]

11. Civic Engagement, Community Development, and the role of CSOs and Citizenship: A Case Study of The Gambia

[Aminata A. Sillah and Atta A. Ceesay]

12. Community Development through Participatory, Engaged, and Critical Analysis

[Kelly L. Patterson, Molly Ranahan, Robert Mark Silverman, and Thomas H. Nochajski]

13. Economic Development as if Low Income Communities Mattered

[Ted Howard and Michelle Camou]

About the Editors

Ashley E. Nickels is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kent State University. Nickels is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose work focuses on urban politics and policy, community-based organizations and organizing, and local democracy. Nickels’ current research investigates the politics of municipal takeovers, focusing on policy design, implementation, and feedback. She is co-editor of Grand Rapids Grassroots: An Anthology (Belt) and co-editor of Feminist Pedagogy, Practice, and Activism (Routledge).

Jason D. Rivera is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science (division of Public Administration) at SUNY Buffalo State. His research focuses on the institutional structures that have historically perpetuated social vulnerability within minority and low-income communities. He is also interested in social vulnerability to natural and manmade disasters with an emphasis on minority experiences. Prior to his arrival at SUNY Buffalo State, Rivera has taught Public Administration and Political Science at Rowan University and Rutgers University-Camden.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Public Administration and Public Policy

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General