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Empowerment Zones

The 1994 Empowerment Zone (EZ) legislation, the centerpiece of President Clinton’s urban policy, included a broad vision of revitalizing community through the joint action of government, business, and community actors.  The Samuels Center has conducted an in-depth study of community participation and community capacity building in the Federal Empowerment Zones in six cites.  The Samuels Center’s two preliminary reports, The Urban Empowerment Zones: Community Organizations and Community Capacity Building and Empowerment Zone Implementation: Community Participation and Community Capacity, and the upcoming final report, examine each city in detail, describing the successes and failures in each EZ.  As a whole, the results have been disappointing, with little increased interaction between the government, business and community, and only a limited increase in participation.  The EZs represent a lost opportunity, because federal involvement in the planning stages led to a relatively high level of participation, but this effort to foster participation waned.


Empowerment Zones Publications


Empowerment Zone Implementation: Community Participation and Community Capacity Marilyn Gittell and Kathe Newman, January 1998.

Expanding Civic Opportunity: Urban Empowerment Zones, by Marilyn Gittell, Kathe Newman, Janice Bockmeyer, Robert Lindsay, March 1998. A Reprint from Urban AffairsReview.

The Urban Empowerment Zones: Community Organizations and Community Capacity Building, by Marilyn Gittell, Janice Bockmeyer, Robert Lindsay & Kathe Newman, May 1996