Decentralizing Urban Policy: Case Studies in Community Development

By Paul R. Dommel; John Stuart Hall et al. | Go to book overview
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geographic and socioeconomic range. Although the model city neighborhoods retained their service programs during the first two years of the CDBG, by the third year service funds were similarly dispersed. In Allegheny County many of the service programs that had gone to Turtle Creek Valley were dismantled by the second year of the CDBG in favor of a broader-based constituency, the elderly. Physical development shifted to a wider range of purposes and to a larger number of the county's older towns. The county's neighborhood conservation efforts were targeted at moderate-income residential areas, where property owners could be expected to afford their share of housing improvements, rather than the poorer areas. Chicago canceled most of its outstanding urban renewal and neighborhood development projects and expanded its target area beyond the four model cities neighborhoods to include a number of new CDBG target areas designated for conservation efforts, while park improvements funded by the CDBG were extended to some of the city's more affluent areas.

Phoenix provides an example of CDBG targeting. Although geographic spreading did occur as the city expanded its activity beyond the Booker T. Washington project area, the expansion was confined primarily to the housing and public improvement needs of South Phoenix, the city's most impoverished minority area. This new effort in South Phoenix, however, was also accompanied by some CDBG allocations to the city departments, and this resulted in a dispersed pattern of public improvements, although with relatively little funding.

Despite the tendency toward spreading, none of the five tried to devise a strategy of pure, even dispersion among income groups or neighborhoods. Each concentrated funds for particular purposes or geographic areas while at the same time touching a broad number of constituencies, however lightly, with some share of the program benefits. Project centerpieces were combined with a smaller share of flexible funds to meet demands across the jurisdiction.


Conclusion

The new opportunities opened up by the CDBG tended to evoke a common response. Local executives, seeking to minimize conflict, accommodated new claimants. There is little evidence that development strategies rather than political concerns and distributive benefits were

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