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Developing Frameworks for Examining Community Participation in a Multi-Level Environment

Smith, Mike; Sullivan, Helen


Mike Smith

Helen Sullivan


The purpose of this paper is to explore public participation from the perspective of two parallel developments in English urban governance since 1997: namely the attempts to modernise local government and area-based approaches employed to tackle social exclusion. The paper will situate these developments within a system of multi-level governance and highlight the significance of the locality-neighbourhood axis. The paper seeks to explicate current changes by drawing on theories of governance. The emphasis on mechanisms that bring together relevant local interests to secure coherence and stability in matters of local governance, combined with the specific focus on the role of citizens and communities as key partners in these arrangements resonates strongly with the key concerns of regime theory. The strengths and limitations of regime theory are discussed with particular reference to matters of contextual specificity. Community Governance is then introduced as a means of better understanding the institutional framework of English localities and, we argue, of providing a sounder basis for the application of regime theory. More powerful still is the potential synthesis of regime approaches with different interpretations of community governance and the paper concludes by drawing on recent developments in English localities to elaborate the potential offered by the this synthesised framework.


Smith, M., & Sullivan, H. (2003). Developing Frameworks for Examining Community Participation in a Multi-Level Environment. Local Economy, 18(3), 237-252.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Aug 1, 2003
Journal Local Economy
Print ISSN 0269-0942
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 237-252
Keywords frameworks, community participation, multi-level environment
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