Urban Neighborhoods: Research and Policy

By Ralph B. Taylor | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

Ralph B. Taylor

The preceding eleven chapters have been, needless to say, diverse. At the same time there are important similarities across the contributions. The similarities I want to discuss here have to do with implications concerning links between research and policy.

Research findings cannot provide an exact specification for policy. Policies that emerge on a topic, such as urban neighborhoods, at the city or federal level, are a product of specific demands brought by particular interest groups, and assessed costs versus benefits of particular approaches to solving a problem. Research, if it plays any role at all in the direct formulation of policy, is likely to be used by one or more interest groups to support their own proposals regarding the shape of the forthcoming directives. In such a scenario, research plays a minor and partisan role in policy formulation.

But, by setting the parameters for policy, or by informing policymakers and implementers of the setting conditions for effective policy directives, research can play a more significant and less partial role. It is in this way that the current contributions help delineate the relationship between research and policy. They help specify some general qualities or sensitivities that should be embodied in policy toward urban neighborhoods. In the remainder of this postscript I would like to elaborate on two such specifications I see suggested by the preceding chapters. One has to do with the scale at which problem solving or strategies are couched. The second has to do with

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