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Community Entrepreneurship in Deprived Neighbourhoods: Comparing UK Community Enterprises with US Community Development Corporations


  • Varady, David P.

    (University of Cincinnati)

  • Kleinhans, Reinout

    (Delft University of Technology)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    (Delft University of Technology)


Through a review of the recent American community development literature, this paper tests the assertion that British community enterprises (CEs) are fundamentally similar to American community development corporations (CDCs), and therefore, that CEs can learn from CDCs. In the context of the current austerity regimes, CEs and community entrepreneurship are increasingly considered as a means to continue small-scale urban regeneration, not only in the UK but also in several other European countries. While the CDC sector has achieved a relatively successful record in affordable housing production in distressed areas, CDCs are fundamentally limited in terms of reversing the processes of community decline. Our comparison of CDCs and CEs reveals similarities, but also differences with regard to organizational characteristics, co-operation on multiple scales, comprehensiveness, targeting and community participation. Apart from outlining lessons that CEs can learn from CDS, we provide recommendations for further research that should cover the lack of empirical evidence in this field.

Suggested Citation

  • Varady, David P. & Kleinhans, Reinout & van Ham, Maarten, 2015. "Community Entrepreneurship in Deprived Neighbourhoods: Comparing UK Community Enterprises with US Community Development Corporations," IZA Discussion Papers 8777, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8777

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ingmar van Meerkerk & Beitske Boonstra & Jurian Edelenbos, 2013. "Self-Organization in Urban Regeneration: A Two-Case Comparative Research," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(10), pages 1630-1652, October.
    2. Michael J. Rich, 2014. "Community Development Block Grants at 40: Time for a Makeover," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 46-90, January.
    3. Rachel G. Bratt, 2008. "Nonprofit and for‐profit developers of subsidized rental housing: Comparative attributes and collaborative opportunities," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 323-365, January.
    4. Karen Beck Pooley, 2014. "Using Community Development Block Grant Dollars to Revitalize Neighborhoods: The Impact of Program Spending in Philadelphia," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 172-191, January.
    5. John Accordino & Fabrizio Fasulo, 2013. "Fusing Technical and Political Rationality in Community Development: A Prescriptive Model of Efficiency-Based Strategic Geographic Targeting," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 615-642, October.
    6. Leah Brooks & Maxim Sinitsyn, 2014. "Where Does the Bucket Leak? Sending Money to the Poor via the Community Development Block Grant Program," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 119-171, January.
    7. Raphael W. Bostic, 2014. "CDBG at 40: Opportunities and Obstacles," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 297-302, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michele Bianchi, 2019. "Renewing the City through Public Participation and Cultural Activities. The Case Study of Gillet Square, a Community-Led Urban Regeneration Project," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 8(1), pages 1-21.

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    More about this item


    community development corporations; community enterprises; neighborhood revitalization; entrepreneurship; regeneration; United States; United Kingdom;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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