Neighborhood Control

October 31, 1975

Report Outline
Push for Decentralization of Power
Rise and Fall of the Neighborhoods
Outlook for Neighborhood Government
Special Focus

Push for Decentralization of Power

New Demands for Localized Decision-Making

The american neighborhood just isn't the same anymore. The neighborhood has been perhaps the most neglected political, social and economic unit of American urban life for decades. But today neighborhoods all over the country are staging a strong comeback. Residents of many areas which have been deteriorating for years are organizing to fight for their neighborhood's improvement or even its very survival. They are not simply demanding more attention and services from City Hall, but they are moving to take over basic powers of government for themselves. Neighborhood revival has many variations, but one common thread seems to run throughout—the desire of people to control the things which affect their neighborhoods and thus their lives.

In some places, the neighborhood-control movement represents a return to grass-roots democracy, to the assembly-meeting or town-hall style of government upon which the nation was founded. In other cities, it means a shift from remote and impersonal representative government to a closer and more responsive elected council system. In still other areas, established municipal governments have responded to neighborhood pressures by agreeing to decentralize power and authority. Whatever form it has taken, the neighborhood-control movement is viewed by some as a fundamental if not revolutionary change in the way American cities are governed. If it continues to gain impetus at the present rate, neighborhood control will establish itself, along with the environmental and consumer movements, as one of the most significant citizens' movements of the 1970s.

“Why shouldn't people be responsible for everything that affects their lives?” asked Milton Kotler, founder and director of the Institute for Neighborhood Studies in Washington, D.C., in an interview with Editorial Research Reports. “Why should they say, ‘Well, I didn't have anything to do with it’? Our object is always to increase people's responsibilities in their own communities. The people and the communities will both become better for it.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Urban Planning
Jul. 27, 2012  Smart Cities
Apr. 09, 2010  Earthquake Threat
Apr. 2009  Rapid Urbanization
Jun. 23, 2006  Downtown Renaissance Updated
May 28, 2004  Smart Growth
Oct. 03, 1997  Urban Sprawl in the West
Mar. 21, 1997  Civic Renewal
Oct. 13, 1995  Revitalizing the Cities
Jun. 09, 1989  Not in My Back Yard!
Apr. 28, 1989  Do Enterprise Zones Work?
Nov. 22, 1985  Supercities: Problems of Urban Growth
Jul. 23, 1982  Reagan and the Cities
Nov. 18, 1977  Saving America's Cities
Oct. 31, 1975  Neighborhood Control
Nov. 21, 1973  Future of the City
Feb. 07, 1973  Restrictions on Urban Growth
May 20, 1970  Urbanization of the Earth
Nov. 06, 1968  New Towns
Oct. 04, 1967  Private Enterprise in City Rebuilding
Feb. 10, 1965  Megalopolis: Promise and Problems
Mar. 04, 1964  City Beautiful
Aug. 21, 1963  Urban Renewal Under Fire
Jan. 21, 1959  Metropolitan Areas and the Federal Government
Jul. 30, 1958  Persistence of Slums
Dec. 09, 1953  Outspreading Cities
Nov. 22, 1952  Slum Clearance: 1932–1952
Jan. 14, 1937  Zoning of Urban and Rural Areas
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Regional Planning and Urbanization
State, Local, and Intergovernmental Relations