Decentralizing Urban Policy: Case Studies in Community Development

By Paul R. Dommel; John Stuart Hall et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
The Process and Its Outcomes

THE PRECEDING case studies permitted in-depth accounts of the local dynamics of the block grant process and decisions made during the transitional years of the community development block grant. In this chapter findings from the cases and from a larger field research sample (see chapter 1) are combined in an effort to examine the devolution of decisionmaking authority under the CDBG and to identify and compare those features of the block grant that were common to communities receiving grants.


The Changing Federal Role

Did the block grant result in reduced federal controls compared with the predecessor programs? Earlier it was noted that studies of urban renewal came to somewhat different conclusions about federal control of that program, depending on the city studied and where in the urban renewal process the research focused. The model cities program elicits more general agreement: it was intended to be primarily a "mayor's program" and was operated as such.

In neither the case studies nor the field network evaluation study (FNES) did we examine. federal controls over the pre-CDBG programs in a way that makes it possible to present a direct before-and-after comparison of such controls. However, from our examination of legislative intent, administrative implementation, and local perceptions, we conclude that at the beginning the block grant resulted in greater local discretion over development decisions.1

Some important features of the CDBG legislation produced greater

____________________
VICTOR E. BACH contributed to the preparation of this chapter.
1
Paul R. Dommel and others, Decentralizing Community Development ( U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, June 1978), chap. 3.

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