Rebuilding forgotten communities of a rust belt region: An examination of community-based organization capacity in Erie-Niagara
Kempner, Darren Edward
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Communities devastated by urban renewal, deindustrialization, globalization, economic discrimination, and racism cover the landscape of Erie and Niagara Counties of New York State (Erie-Niagara). Erie-Niagara's community-based organizations are the frontline in the fight against physical and economic decline in the region's devastated communities. Their contribution to these communities is called into question when their presence is reconciled with the complete devastation of the community. This study proposes that the region's community-based organizations should not be evaluated without a quantitative examination of their capacity and qualitative analysis of their history, challenges, and strategies for the future. Using the capacity approach presented by Norman Glickman and Lisa Servon with refinements by Ginger Elliott this study assesses the capacity of Erie-Niagara community-based organizations. Survey results reveal basic characteristics, total capacity, and specific components of capacity that, when combined, offer a snapshot of the community-based organization component of Erie-Niagara's community development industry system. Qualitative research results broaden the scope of analysis to include internal and external challenges facing community-based organizations in Erie-Niagara and the strategies they have developed to cope with those challenges. Synthesis of quantitative and qualitative research results provides support for policy recommendations and directions for future research on the community development industry system in Erie-Niagara.