PRRAC Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Home About PRRAC Current Projects Publications Newsletters Resources Contact Us Support PRRAC Join Our Email List

Academic Research on Community Development Corporations

Journals (see also PRRAC Housing Research Guide)

Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research

Community Development Journal

Housing Policy Debate

Housing Studies

Journal of the American Planning Association

Journal of the Community Development Society

Journal of Community Power Building

Journal of Housing Research

Journal of Planning Literature


Shelterforce, The Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Building

Social Policy

Urban Affairs Review

Urban Studies

Some Recent Research (Critical Perspectives on Community Development)

Rachel G. Bratt, Tufts University (Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning)
“A Right to Housing, Foundation for a New Social Agenda,” edited by Bratt, Rachel G., Michael E. Stone, and Chester Hartman. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2006.

Rachel G. Bratt, Tufts University (Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning)
Bratt, Rachel and William M. Rohe. “Challenges and dilemmas facing community development corporations in the United States,” Community Development Journal 0, 2005 (August 17, 2005): 1-16.

Scott Cummings, U.C.L.A. Law
Cummings, Scott. “Recentralization: Community Economic Development and the Case for Regionalism,” J. Small & Emerging Bus. L. 8 (Summer 2004): 131-149.

Anthony Downs, The Brookings Institution
Downs, Anthony. “The Challenge of Our Declining Big Cities,” Housing Policy Debate 8, 2 (1997): 359-408.

Herb Fayer, The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science (Consultant)
Prepared by Fayer, Herb and Robert Pearson. “QUICK READ SYNOPSIS: Race, Politics, and Community Development in U.S. Cities.” The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 594 (2004): 171-194.

Ronald Ferguson, Harvard University (John F. Kennedy School of Government)
Urban Problems and Community Development, edited by Ferguson, Ronald F. and William T. Dickens, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1999.

Catherine Fernandez, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation and Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University
Fernandez, Catherine. “Community Development in Dynamic Neighborhoods: Synchronizing Services and Strategies with Immigrant Communities.” Washington, DC: Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation et al., October 2003.

George Galster, The Urban Institute
George Galster, Diane Levy, Noah Sawyer, Kenneth Temkin, Christopher Walker. “The Impact of Community Development Organizations on Urban Neighborhoods.” Washington, DC: Urban Institute, June 30, 2005.

Ross Gittell, Whittemore School of Business & Economics
Gittell, Ross and Margaret Wilder. “Community Development Corporations: Critical Factors That Influence Success,” Journal of Urban Affairs 21, 3 (1999): 341-362.

Norman Glickman, Rutgers University (Center for Urban Policy Research)
Glickman, Norman J., and Lisa J. Servon. “More than bricks and sticks: Five components of community development capacity.” Housing Policy Debate 9, 3 (1999): 497-539.

Edward Goetz, University of Minnesota (Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs)
Goetz, Edward G. “The Community-based housing movement and progressive local politics.” In revitalizing urban neighborhoods, edited by W. Dennis Keating, Norman Krumholz and Philip Star. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1996.

Howard Husock, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (Social Entrepreneurship Initiative)
Husock, Howard. America’s Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake, The Failure of American Housing Policy. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2003.

Kimberley Johnson, (Barnard College, Columbia University)(Political Science and Urban Studies)
Johnson, Kimberley. “Politics, and Community Development in U.S. Cities: Race, Politics, and Community Development Corporations, Participation, and Accountability: The Harlem Urban Development Corporation and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.” The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 594 (2004): 109-124.

Alan Mallach, National Housing Institute
Mallach, Alan. “Building a Better Urban Future: New Directions for Housing Policies in Weak Market Cities.” Montclair, New Jersey: National Housing Institute et al., June 2005.

Audrey G. McFarlane, University of Baltimore School of Law
McFarlane, Audrey. “The New Inner City Class Transformation, Concentrated Affluence and the Obligations of the Police Power.8 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 1 (January 2006): 3-60.

MacFarlane, Audrey. “Race, Space and Place: The Geography of Economic Development,” San Diego L. Rev. 36 (Spring 1999): 295-354.

National Low Income Housing Coalition
2006 Advocates’ Guide to Housing and Community Development Policy, Washington, DC: National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Nancy Nye, Nancy Nye Consulting, Inc.
Nye, Nancy, and Norman J. Glickman. “Working Together: Building Capacity for Community Development.Housing Policy Debate 11, 1 (2000): 163-198.

Myron Orfield, Institute on Race and Poverty
Orfield, Myron. “Racial Integration and Community Revitalization: Applying the Fair Housing Act to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.” Vand. L. Rev. 58 (2005): 1747-1804.

Susan Rans, North Park University (Masters of Arts in Community Development Program)
Rans, Susan A. “Hidden Treasures: Building Community Connections by Engaging the Gifts of *People on welfare; *People with disabilities; *People with mental illness; *Older adults; *Young people.” Evanston, IL: Asset-Based Community Development Institute, 2005.

David Reingold, The University of Chicago (Public Affairs and Public Policy)
Reingold, David A., and Craig L. Johnson.“The Rise and Fall of Eastside Community Investments, Inc.: The Life of an Extraordinary Community Development Corporation.Journal of Urban Affairs 25, 3 (2003): 527-549.

William M. Rohe, Center for Urban and Regional Studies
Rohe, William M., Rachel G. Bratt. “Failures, Downsizings, and Mergers among Community Development Corporations.Housing Policy Debate 14, 1-2 (2003): 1-46.

Michael H. Schill, U.C.L.A. Law
Schill, Michael H. “Assessing the Role of Community Development Corporations in Inner City Economic Development.” N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 22 (1997): 753.

Daniel S. Shah, Temple University (James E. Beasley School of Law)
Shah, Daniel S. “Lawyering for Empowerment: Community Development and Social Change,” Clinical L. Rev. 6 (1999): 217-257.

Todd C. Shaw, University of South Carolina (Political Science and African American Studies)
Shaw, Todd C. and Lester K. Spence. “Race, Politics, and Community Development in U.S. Cities: Race and Representation in Detroit’s Community Development Coalitions.” The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 594 (2004): 125-142.

William H. Simon, Stanford Law School
Simon, William H. The Community Economic Development Movement: Law, Business, and the New Social Policy. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.

Brent C. Smith, Virginia Commonwealth University (School of Business)(Finance, Insurance & Real Estate)
Smith, Brent C. “The Impact of Community Development Corporations on Neighborhood Housing Markets, Modeling Appreciation,” Urban Affairs Review, 39, 2 (2003): 181-204.

Catherine A. Smith, National Housing Institute
Smith, Catherine A. “A National Spotlight on Local Capacity.Shelterforce Online 145 (Spring 2006).

Randy Stoecker, University of Toledo (Sociology, Anthropology, Social Worker)
Stoecker, Randy. “The Last Line of Defense.Shelterforce Online, 143 (Sept-Oct 2005).

Stoecker, Randy. “The Community Development Corporation Model of Urban Redevelopment: A Political Economy Critique and an Alternative,” revised version of papers presented at the 1995 Planners Network annual meetings and the 1995 American Sociological Association annual meetings, 1996.

Sara Stoutland, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government (Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy)
Stoutland, Sara E. “Community Development Corporations: Mission, Strategy, and Accomplishments.” In Urban problems and community development, edited by Ronald F. Ferguson and William T. Dickens. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press (1999): 193-240.

Franklin Thomas, TFF Study Group
Thomas, Franklin, Louis Winnick, Robert Cohen and William P. Ryan. “Inventing Community Renewal: The Trials and Errors that Shaped the Modern Community Development Corporation,” edited by Mitchell Sviridoff. New York: Community Development Research Center, 2004.

William Traynor, Neighborhood Partners
Traynor, William. “Community Building: Hope and Caution.Shelterforce Online, published by the National Housing Institute, September/October 1995.

Avis Vidal, Wayne State University (Urban Planning)
Vidal, Avis C. and Langley Keyes. Beyond Housing: Growing Community Development Systems. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2005.

Alexander von Hoffman, Joint Center for Housing Studies
Von Hoffman, Alexander. House by house, block by block: The rebirth of America’s urban neighborhoods. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Christopher Walker, The Urban Institute
Walker, Christopher. “Community Development Corporations and Their Changing Support Systems.” Washington, DC: The Urban Institute (Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center), December 2002.

Walker, Christopher. [Interview]. “Community Development Corporations and Neighborhood Revitalization.” Washington, DC: Urban Institute (April 22, 2002).

Andrew White, Center for New York City Affairs
White, Andrew. “The State of Community Development Research: Looking Forward.” New York, NY: Community Development Research Center, December 1999.

James Yagley, Housing Assistance Council
Yagley, James, Lance George, Cequyna Moore and Jennifer Pinder. “They
Paved Paradise . . . Gentrification in Rural Communities,
” Washington, DC: Housing Assistance Council, 2005.

Robert Zdenek, United Way of American (Community Economic Development)
Zdenek, Robert O. and Carol Steinbach. “Built to Last, The key to better managed CDCs lies in mastering three critical areas.Shelterforce Online 123 (May-June 2002). Adapted from the book Managing Your CDC: Leadership Strategies for Changing Times. Washington, DC: National Congress for Community Economic Development, June 2002.

A series of recent working papers and reports are available through the Harvard Jt. Center for Housing Studies.

Some Themes in Community Development Research by Alanna Buchanan

(Articles discussed below are cited above.)

Successes and Failures of CDCs

A key theme in the CDC movement is evaluating the successes and failures of CDCs and what criterion should be involved in such an evaluation. For one perspective on evaluating the success of CDCs, see Johnson, “Politics, and Community Development in U.S. Cities: Race, Politics, and Community Development Corporations, Participation, and Accountability: The Harlem Urban Development Corporation and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.” Success can be determined if the CDC: (1) established economic and business development programs; (2) undertook community and housing development activities; or, (3) created manpower training programs (SIP legislation). (Johnson, 2004).

Keys to success

The success of a CDC seems largely determined by the allocation of funds and the incorporation of the community into the CDC’s decision-making process. See, for example, Downs (1997) and Gittell and Wilder (1999) (which also provides a recent discussion on how to evaluate whether a CDC has been successful). More specifically, elements that are critical to the success of CDCs include: government support, bank support, support from local foundations in order to carry out their broad agenda; finding people with the experience to run these CDCs; finding a dynamic individual who can rally and gain the trust of the community and be able to deal with the business world; and incorporating the community in the efforts to revitalize, because many times the community is on the margins of the effort and the programs are not accessible to the people living in the area. (Walker, 2002). Discussion of the need for community input is pervasive in the literature and was cited as critical based on the rationale that community roots allow for political independence and greater opportunities to make decisions that would benefit the community. (Johnson, 2004). It has been postulated that the challenge of CDCs is to become more accountable to the community at the same time that the efficiency and effectiveness made available by technical management is still reflected. (Johnson, 2004).

Community participation is also critical in the design of strategies and use of local political power to help residents organize resources, including money, institutional prestige, government patronage, and the media. (Fayer and Pearson, 2004). It has been suggested that for a CDC to be successful there needs to be a rich network of churches, health centers, community-based organizations, and neighborhood groups in the development of strategies and visions; there needs to be a strategy to generate wealth through activities based on the assets and resources of the neighborhood, but not in ways that would displace residents or small businesses; and, planning needs to be holistic, in that transportation would be linked to positive impacts for housing, economic development, workforce mobility, and connections to other parts of the city. (Fayer and Pearson, 2004). For an account of ways to connect the marginalized in order to work toward real community change, see Rans (2005).

Why some CDCs fail

In alignment with the recipe for a successful CDC are the criticisms that lead to the failure of some. Money is critical both in terms of the amount made available and the source of the funding. A common criticism of CDCs is that there is very little community control because funding comes from outside sources. This contradicts one of the key functions of CDCs which is to involve members of the community in the development of their neighborhood and the creation of certain types of beneficial social capital. Additionally, due to money constraints CDCs are often unable to take on issues holistically and so tend to focus only on housing development rather than the broader notions of economic development. (Fayer and Pearson, 2004). CDCs have also been labeled slow and complicated bureaucracies that actually hinder community development. (Johnson, 2004). Further, the so-called gulf between the white business world and poor minority communities has been cited as a source of tension. (Shaw and Spence, 2004).

For an additional summary of these issues, see Stoecker (2005), who says that there are three problems with CDCs: (1) the limits to comprehensiveness; (2) the myth of community control; and, (3) the development of disorganization.

CDCs and their Role in Segregation

An area in need of greater investigation is the role CDCs play in the segregation of their targeted communities. The literature on this subject thus far seems to suggest that integration is not a natural by-product of the revitalization of urban communities. Rather, integration may occur during community and economic development but real effort must be put in to maintain any such integration that does occur, and to avoid displacement through gentrification. (MacFarlane, 1999). See also, MacFarlane (2006) and Cummings (2004). Additionally, community development intermediaries have supported housing policies that arguably promote racial segregation. See, Orfield (2005). See also, Shah (1999)(stating that “[c]ommunity Development Corporations increasingly have taken up less confrontational stances on issues like discriminatory bank lending and exclusionary zoning for low-income housing development, and taken on a more cooperative and businesslike approach, supporting business franchise development”).

Join Our Email List
Search for:             
Join Our Email List