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Abstract

Public policies rarely have single objectives. For the federal Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities initiative, bettering the socioeconomic opportunity structure among a collection of the nation's low-income areas is only one of its goals. Another initiative objective is to foster the representation of common citizens, especially residents, in the planning and implementation of strategies and programs designed to redevelop these low-income areas. Strategic community planning was the method chosen by the initiative's designers to achieve both objectives. This article, which makes use of the case study approach, addresses strategic community planning as an instrument of advancing citizen representation in urban redevelopment processes. Specifically, it describes and critiques the process jointly administered in three upstate New York cities — Albany, Schenectady, and Troy — that are participating in the urban portion of the federal initiative. The purpose of this study is to assess the degree to which residents of the low-income areas of these three cities participated in the strategic community planning process.

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