Ralph B. Taylor
This volume appears at a curious time. At the national level, there is an almost total unconcern for the plight of cities. In the 1970s the neighborhood movement flourished; the concerns of urban neighborhoods gained attention from federal, state, and city policymakers. At the current time, however, many feel that the federal government has no urban policy to help neighborhoods. How did this situation develop?
Some suggest that this country never has had a national policy for neighborhoods, and never should have one. 1 It is, they feel, simply not the "business" of the federal government to be helping urban neighborhoods, or to be aiding cities who seek to provide such assistance. Others express the view that the country was evolving toward a national policy for urban neighborhoods in the late 1970s, and subsequently retreated from the enterprise. 2 >And still others counter that the federal government does at the present time have a vigorous and effective, albeit novel policy toward urban neighborhoods, which focuses on private enterprise cooperating with community organizations to improve the quality of life, as exemplified in the concept of urban enterprise zones.
If and when urban neighborhoods do regain the attention of national and state-level policymakers, some suggestions emerging from the current volume may have implications for the broad outlines of the policies they wish to pursue. Should future urban neighborhood policies reflect these features, they will have a form quite different from the policies of the late 1960s and 1970s. 3 The contributions of this volume speak to the issue of the relationship between research and policy, or research and action. They do not deal directly with proposals for urban neighborhood policy, but rather raise issues about how research findings, neighborhoods, and policymakers or policy implementers should be linked. Some of the contributors directly raise the issue of research-policy links. Others deal with it more tangentially. Nonetheless, in all the chapters there are findings or conclusions that shed new light on how research should inform policy, and vice versa. This