Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.
Participatory urban governance under the microscope: A qualitative study of high-functioning neighborhood councils in Los Angeles, by Brady Collins & Dana Kalei Del Rey
With the neighborhood seen as the ideal unit for participatory modes of governance, many cities in the United States have established formal systems of neighborhood councils to increase civic participation, improve service delivery, and enhance democracy. Los Angeles boasts the most extensive neighborhood council system, which was founded in 1999, in the country. Through a qualitative study of two neighborhood councils in LA, this study investigates how neighborhood councils influence land use and policy decision-making. It finds that political capital, negotiation, and associational leverage are the most important tools for these councils in exerting influence. In doing so, the authors suggest that the oft-cited justifications for pursuing formalized modes of participatory urban governance do not take into consideration the sociopolitical dimensions of urban regimes, and suggest three propositions for future research on neighborhood governance systems.