Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Talk: "Power, You Can't Measure It But You Know When You Don't Have It", Weds. February 9th

Dan calls our attention to this upcoming presentation by Clarence Stone, as part of programs at Virginia Tech's Alexandria Campus' Politics and Planning Speaker Series.

Professor Stone, a political scientist, is the "dean" of the "urban regime" theory of urban politics. "UR" competes with the "Growth Machine" thesis for urban politics. I happen to think that the two theories are complementary. GM explains the why better than UR, which explains the how much better than GM theory. (See the past blog entry "A superb lesson in DC "growth machine" politics from Loose Lips (Washington City Paper which covers the salient points of the respective theories.")

"Power, You Can't Measure It But You Know When You Don't Have It",
Wednesday February 9, 7:00-8:30 pm
1021 Prince Street, Room 305
Alexandria, Virginia

Abstract—Community organizers, reformers, and sometimes even planners have a primary goal of empowering those who are not well off. But what is empowerment and how do you know when you have achieved it? Is empowerment of the poor feasible or only a pipe dream? Though there is no widely accepted metric of power, we can say much about who is powerful in city politics. A starting point is to be clear about different scopes of power—power to set the agenda, power to say NIMBY, capacity to launch a movement, or capacity to have junk cars removed from the neighborhood. Beyond that, the challenge is to think long term, and think like Albert Einstein and not Sir Isaac Newton.

Brief bio—Clarence Stone is Research Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at George Washington University. He is perhaps best known for REGIME POLITICS, a book on Atlanta’s biracial coalition that develops the concept of an urban regime. He was a Visiting Fulbright Professor at the University of Southern Denmark in 2001-2002 and continues to have an interest in comparative local politics. Currently he is coordinating a transatlantic study of policies to regenerate urban neighborhoods and in that project is part of a team studying Baltimore.

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