|Title||Community empowerment or a strategy of containment? Evaluating neighbourhood governance in the city of Westminster|
|Authors||Pill, M. and Bailey, Nick|
The longstanding emphasis on the neighbourhood as a scale for intervention and action has given rise to a variety of forms of governance with a number of different rationales. The predominant rationales about the purpose of neighbourhood governance are encapsulated in a fourfold typology developed by Lowndes and Sullivan (2008). This article sets out to test this approach by drawing on an evaluation of neighbourhood initiatives in the City of Westminster which were delivered through a third sector organisation, the Paddington Development Trust. ‘Insider’ perspectives gathered at city and neighbourhood levels regarding the infrastructure for neighbourhood management are discussed and evaluated in the light of these rationales. The conclusions, while broadly reflecting Lowndes and Sullivan and a follow-up study of Manchester, suggest that in Westminster the civic and economic rationales tend to predominate. However, the Westminster approach is contingent on the prevailing ethos and funding regimes at central and local levels and remains relatively detached from mainstream services. While community empowerment is an important part of the policy rhetoric, it is argued that in practice a ‘strategy of containment’ operates whereby residents in the neighbourhoods have relatively little control over targets and resources and that new governance mechanisms can be relatively easily de-coupled when required. In retrospect, co-production might have been a more effective model for neighbourhood governance, not least given its fit with policy direction.
|Keywords||Neighbourhood, governance, empowerment|
|Journal||Local Government Studies|
|Journal citation||38 (6), pp. 731-751|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1080/03003930.2012.679934|