The Empowerment Puzzle: In Pursuit of a New Dimension in Governing the City

34 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2013

See all articles by Clarence N. Stone

Clarence N. Stone

George Washington University, GWIPP

Date Written: 2013


City politics has shifted from the era of redevelopment led mainly by a business-city hall alliance (what Robert Salisbury once termed a “new convergence of power.” For governing, the logic of the situation continues to call for a fit between resource capacity and issue scope. A very large-scale mobilization of resources and skills was required to pursue the outsized and highly consequential agenda of urban redevelopment in the years following World War II. Today, with diminished engagement by corporate business, foundations and the “ed & med” sector (universities, hospitals, and professional schools) are now prime prospects for supplying vital resources needed for addressing the challenges faced by cities and their marginal groups. While there is no “new convergence of power” capable of setting priorities commensurate in scope with those of the redevelopment era, foundations and “ed & med” institutions can interact with disadvantaged communities to form significant policy alliances. As a Baltimore example illustrates, such hybrid arrangements between unequals form an important area for inquiry into the politics of today’s cities.

Keywords: Key words: power, issue scope, governing/governance, urban coalitions/regimes, community development, politics of marginality, university-community relations, foundations/philanthropies, and social reform/social reconstruction in the city.

Suggested Citation

Stone, Clarence N., The Empowerment Puzzle: In Pursuit of a New Dimension in Governing the City (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper, American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting, Available at SSRN:

Clarence N. Stone (Contact Author)

George Washington University, GWIPP ( email )

United States

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