The cycle of neighborhood regeneration and its
displacement of the low-income families who had been living in the neighborhood
is common to many developed nations around the world. While such reinvestment
produces "showcase" communities in many cities, it does not
allow low-income individuals to share in the benefits of better housing,
better stores, safer streets, and improved services among other tangible
improvements. Regeneration may help the overall quality of life or immediate
local economy of the improved communities, but it often does little
to provide opportunity to low-income families. It often just moves poverty
around in a region and does not really reduce the overall regional level
Our international project is an effort to document
existing successful alternatives to this reinvestment and displacement
cycle. What reinvestment models both improve the overall economic vitality
of deteriorated neighborhoods at the same time as they provide opportunities
for current low-income residents to benefit from these improvements?
What are the existing and potential sustainable equitable community
development strategies that benefit all sectors of the population, increasing
economic independence of all individuals and families? This is the focus
of our project.
L to R: Dr. David Hall, Dr. Phil Nyden, Dr. Teresa Rojo,
and Dr. Sam Marullo at the Conference
The Curricular Framework for Sustainable Equitable
Community Reinvestment will build upon the experience of university
researchers and community activists in four cities in the U.S. and Europe--Chicago,
Washington DC, Liverpool, and Seville. Specifically, the partners in
each city are: the Center for Urban
Research and Learning (CURL) at Loyola University Chicago; the CoRAL
Network coordinated at Georgetown University in Washington, DC;
of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Studies at the University
of Liverpool; and the Sociology
Department of the University of Seville. The project coordinators
in each city are: Dr.
Philip Nyden (Loyola University Chicago), Dr.
Sam Marullo (Georgetown, Washington DC), Dr.
David Hall (University of Liverpool) and Dr. Teresa Rojo (University
of Seville) We will develop a curriculum that can be used either by
faculty and students in the university classroom or by community leaders
and residents in city and suburban neighborhoods.
In addition to drawing from experiences in four
different cities in three countries, we will be drawing from the knowledge
of university-based research and community activists. All of the partners
are actively involved in university-community partnerships. We are strengthening
these local activities by forging an international network that links
"community-based knowledge" with "university-based (discipline-based)
knowledge." This represents a practical application of a growing
movement of university-community research and teaching partnerships.
One such partnership has been the International
Science Shop Network (ISSNET) which has been supported by the European
Commission. Three of the four participants in this project (Department
of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Studies - University of
Liverpool, Department of Sociology - University of Seville, and Center
for Urban Research and Learning - Loyola University Chicago) first came
in contact with each other through this network. Other formal and informal
contacts in the U.S. formed around promotion of university-community
partnerships helped to link CURL and CoRal.
Innovation--in both theory and practice--typically occurs at the boundaries
between disciplines, between institutions, and between cultures. Therefore
a project that crosses national boundaries, institutional boundaries,
and university-community boundaries will enhance innovative course content
and innovative pedagogy in higher education.
The project will build on emerging national networks and past accomplishments
of participating universities in forging new relationships among U.S.
and European institutions. The proposed trans-Atlantic project will
allow us to: 1) share best practices; and 2) avoid "reinventing
the wheel" and instead more effectively use limited private and
We will create, and pilot in all four universities, courses in "equitable
and sustainable neighborhood reinvestment." Each city partner may
use different teaching approaches, but all courses will include: a)
hands-on training in community-based participatory research methodology;
b) student involvement in an equitable re-development project; c) a
detailed system of web-based communications; and d) visits by one or
two of the faculty from partnering institutions during the classes at
In addition to the course, other outcomes will include: 1) a written
manual on "A Curricular Framework for Sustainable and Equitable
Community Reinvestment" that will explain how a pedagogical approach
utilizing both university and community knowledge can enhance the quality
of learning in the university classroom; 2) sharing of experiences and
results with faculty and administrators at the participating institutions
to facilitate "institutionalization" of this international
program after funding ends; 3) creation of a web page that will both
be used by participants in the course of the project and contain all
of the reports and products produced; 4) dissemination of the international
innovative curriculum to other European and U.S. universities through
existing networks in the U.S. and Europe.
This project has been funded by a grant from the
Community-U.S. Cooperation Program. This project is sponsored in
part by the Fund for the Improvement of
Postsecondary Education (FIPSE),
U.S. Department of Education.