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Empowerment and planning for healthy communities Rachwalski, Maurice 1993

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EMPOWERMENT AND PLANNING FORHEALTHY COMMUNITIESbyMAURICE RACHWALSKIB.A., Simon Fraser University, 1985B.S.W., The University of British columbia, 1989A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTERS OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESTHE SCHOOL OF COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL PLANNINGWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAOctober, 1993© Maurice Rachwalski, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of  Community and Regional PlanningThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate October 15, 1993DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThe objective of this thesis is to analyze the psychologicaldimensions of the concept of empowerment in planning for healthycommunities, and evaluate the role of community planners in thepractical application of this concept. A case study examines theuse of a community-based organization (Collingwood NeighbourhoodHouse - CNH) as a vehicle for empowering local citizens, and therole of the City of Vancouver and City planners in the developmentof the organization.A substantive literature review was undertaken. This identifiesthat empowerment is a dynamic process of personal and collectivecontrol, leading towards the development of a multi-dimensionalparticipatory competence. This competence can be effectivelyachieved through involvement in community-based organizations whichnurture and promote graduating levels of community participationfor citizens. Empowerment also implies raising the consciousnessof an individual, and perhaps an organization in relation to theprocesses that act to perpetuate powerlessness.The literature review also illustrates that contemporary democraticsocieties are elitist, and that planning processes within thisparadigm can effectively retard the development of participatorycompetence. These planning processes also perpetuate the sense ofpowerlessness felt by many in democratic society by assuming thatall citizens, at any given point in time, have the same degree ofparticipatory competence. This approach sees those who do notiiparticipate as either satisfied that their needs are being metthrough the decisions of others or lacking the capability to fullyparticipate in community decision making, and that the 'democraticsystem' will operate more efficiently without their involvementbeyond periodic voting.It is concluded that the Collingwood Neighbourhood House can serveas a vehicle for empowering local citizens. It has developedpolicies and practices that provide members opportunities, atprogressively greater levels of responsibility, to control thedirection and activities of the organization, and in many respectsthe immediate community. The organization was established by localcitizens, through the guidance of enlightened City planners;planners who recognized that the traditional planning processesinitiated by the City perpetuated the denial of resources and thepowerlessness of the community. The planning process initiated bythe City cannot be described as empowering.The implications of empowerment and planning for healthycommunities are discussed in relation to both perceived and realcontrol over one's environment, and the basic rights inherent in aparticipatory democracy. It is concluded that participation incommunity activities, and particularly community planningprocesses, is a reciprocal process of improved self esteem, and asense of community. It is recommended that community-basedorganizations receive greater support and recognition by localgovernment and the planning field as mechanisms for connectingindividuals to their immediate neighbourhoods and to the largercommunity through learned competency in community decision making.iiiTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT^ iiTABLE OF CONTENTS^ iiiACKNOWLEDGEMENT ivCHAPTER I^ 1INTRODUCTION 1HEALTHY COMMUNITIES^ 1SCOPE AND AIM OF THE THESIS^ 4ASSUMPTIONS^ 6RATIONALE FOR EXAMINING EMPOWERMENT^7DEFINITIONS 7ORGANIZATION OF THE THESIS^ 9CHAPTER II^ 11EMPOWERMENT 11INTRODUCTION 11DEFINING EMPOWERMENT^ 12HUMAN SERVICES^ 15SOCIAL WORK 15SOCIAL WORK REVIEW 22PSYCHOLOGY 23COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY^ 24EMPOWERED COMMUNITIES, NEIGHBOURHOODSAND ORGANIZATIONS^ 26PSYCHOLOGICAL EMPOWERMENT 30COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 35COMMUNITY 35DEVELOPMENT^ 37COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND EMPOWERMENT^39COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION^ 41PARTICIPATION AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERVENTION^43ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 45DEFINITION^ 45SUMMARY 48CHAPTER III 53CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING^ 53FEMINISM AND CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING^ 54EMPOWERMENT AND GROUPS 56CONSCIENTIZATION 58PLANNERS AND CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING 61ROLE OF THE AGENCY^ 66SUMMARY^ 66CHAPTER IV 68EMPOWERMENT, PARTICIPATION AND DEMOCRACY^68INTRODUCTION^ 68DEMOCRACY AND PARTICIPATION^ 68CLASSICAL DEMOCRATIC THEORY 69THE PARADOX OF PARTICIPATION 71ELITIST THEORY OF DEMOCRACY 76THE REBUTTAL TO ELITIST THEORY^ 78ivPLANNING AND PARTICIPATION^ 79SUMMARY^ 83CHAPTER V 85CASE STUDY: THE COLLINGWOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE (CNH)85INTRODUCTION^ 85THE COMMUNITY^ 86SKYTRAIN 87HISTORY OF COMMUNITY ACTION^ 87THE COLLINGWOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE (CNH)^90THE NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE MODEL 90THE CNH^ 90CNH POLICIES 93CNH AND EMPOWERMENT^ 94THE CITY AND THE CNH 98LOCAL AREA PLANNING 98THE COLLINGWOOD PLANNING PROCESS^ 99THE ROLE OF THE PLANNERS^ 101THE ROLE OF THE CITY (PLANNING DEPT.)^104SUMMARY^ 106CHAPTER VI 109CONCLUSION 109THE MEANING OF EMPOWERMENT^ 109EMPOWERMENT AND HEALTHY COMMUNITIES^112EMPOWERMENT THROUGH COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT^113TRADITIONAL PARTICIPATION STRATEGIES AND EMPOWERMENT114FUTURE RESEARCH^ 116REFERENCES 117ACKNOWLEDGEMENTI would like to thank the members of my Thesis Committee, PeterBoothroyd, Henry Hightower and Coro Strandberg, for the quality andtimeliness of their feedback on this paper. I would also like tothank my wife Teresa, whose support, patience and encouragement hasallowed me to achieve this goal.viCHAPTER IINTRODUCTION"If you tell me I may forget,if you show me I may remember,if you involve me we will learn together."Chief Dan GeorgeHEALTHY COMMUNITIESThe purpose of this paper is to analyze both the implications ofthe concept of empowerment in planning for healthy communities, andthe role planners can play in the application of this concept. Itis argued that participation in community decision-making processeshas a psychological affect on citizens, in terms of the perceivedability to control one's life, and increasing the sense ofcommunity through connectedness with others. Strengtheningcommunity health requires an understanding by planners of theimplications of empowering people through community participation.The phenomenon of planning for healthy communities has attractedconsiderable interest, particularly since the mid 1980's. Much ofthe debate in this field in Canada began with the federalgovernment report "A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians"(Lalonde, 1974), which established the notion that health is notonly related to wellness, but is determined by factors such asenvironment, lifestyle, human biology and health care1organizations. As Boothroyd and Eberle (1990) pointed out, theinclusion of environment and lifestyle signalled a shift from thetraditional medical paradigm to a more holistic system-environmentperspective.Since Lalonde's report, the World Health Organization (WHO, 1978),and later the federal government (Epp, 1986), developed evenbroader frameworks for promoting health. The three basicprinciples of these latter frameworks are: strengthening communityhealth services; coordinating healthy public policy; and, fosteringpublic participation.Emerging from this framework, empowerment and community health canbe generally defined as the measure of two indicators: the sense ofcommunity emanating from the connectedness between individuals, andtheir immediate neighbourhood and the larger community; and, thedegree of control individuals and the collective community haveover decisions that affect them. The significance for planners ofempowerment and planning for healthy communities, has traditionallybeen within the context of facilitating the democratic right ofcitizens to be consulted around public initiatives. However, sincethe planning profession has operated within the confines of moreelitist rather than participatory forms of democracy, traditionalplanning initiatives cannot be seen as empowering.2Proactive community-directed strategies, such as reversingpowerlessness, alienation, and a loss of a sense of control overone's life, can foster community health through improved self-esteem of individual citizens, and the fostering of a greater senseof community. Such strategies can also improve the effectivenessof community planning and decision-making processes throughincreased citizen involvement, greater self-reliance and improvedproblem-solving skills. To more fully appreciate the implicationsof improved self esteem and increased participatory competence formore effective planning, planners and planning agencies must betterunderstand and more consistently apply the fundamental principlesof empowerment.Unfortunately, the term empowerment has been used so frequently inrecent years as a panacea for curing a great many ills that itsmeaning for planners may be distorted, and its significancediluted. While a number of factors may contribute tomisconceptions of the role of empowerment, this paper argues thatthe planning field typically lacks an understanding of thepsychological need of individuals to exert control over their livesand decisions that affect them, while at the same time feelingconnected to the larger community.The planning field also lacks a more explicit theoretical basis forincorporating empowerment into planning practice. It is from thispremise of recognizing the value of empowerment for planning for3healthy communities that it seems appropriate for a closerexamination of this concept and its validity for planners.SCOPE AND AIM OF THE THESISFour questions emerge and form the basis of this thesis:How is empowerment defined and applied by various otherprofessions?What is the relationship between empowerment, communityparticipation, and planning for healthy communities?Do traditional public participation strategies, usuallyfacilitated by planners, serve to empower citizens andcommunities?What mechanism can planners employ to empower others andprovide more effective community participation?The first two questions are explored in several ways, beginningwith an extensive literature review of the dynamics of empowerment,drawing from the fields of human services, community development,and organizational behaviour. From this review, several guidingprinciples or themes are developed.The thesis then examines the assumption that these principles ofempowerment are effective and valid in any setting where decisionsaffecting individual citizens are made.4The role of citizen participation in planning is also exploredthrough a literature review, including an examination of theconcepts of empowerment and participation within democratic theory.These questions are addressed further by examining the phenomenonof consciousness raising, which is considered as a precursor toempowerment. The additional hypothesis tested is that an integraldimension of empowerment is cognitive awareness - raisedconsciousness - of organizational and systemic processes and forceswhich effectively inhibit or nurture personal or collective power.The third and fourth questions are analyzed through a case study ofthe establishment and development of the Collingwood NeighbourhoodHouse (CNH). The CNH is a community-based organization operatingwithin the Collingwood neighbourhood of the City of Vancouver.This organization emerged indirectly from a local area planningprocess initiated by the City. The case study examines the conceptof employing a community-based organization as a mechanism forempowering local citizens, and analyzes the City's local areaplanning process. The case study research methods involve a reviewof historical and policy documents of both the City and the CNH,interviews with participants and affected local citizens, and anexamination of the policies, procedures, and philosophy of the CNH.The research is supplemented by the observations and experiences ofthis author, based on the following: resident of Collingwood5(1981-82); research on the socio-economic impact of Skytrain on theCollingwood community (Ahern and Rachwalski, 1983); and, boardmember, volunteer and paid staff of the CNH (1987-92).ASSUMPTIONSSome basic assumptions in this thesis include the belief thateffective participation in decision making in one's communityinvolves long term development of participatory skills, notafforded in traditional citizen participation initiatives. Thesetypes of initiatives are less likely to promote healthycommunities. Another assumption is that emotional or mental healthis predicated on the presence of real and perceived power and highself esteem. Inherent within this argument is the belief thatsystemic barriers exist within traditional western society andelitist forms of democracy, acting to undermine the goal ofindividual and community development, and that the process ofempowerment involves consciousness-raising to this situation by allactors in the process.A further assumption in this thesis is that planning for healthycommunities requires an understanding by planners of the dynamicsof empowerment as it relates to three dimensions of society:individual citizens; collective communities; and, organizations.6RATIONALE FOR EXAMINING EMPOWERMENTAn examination of empowerment provides an opportunity to fill avoid that presently exists within planning literature, theory, andpolicies. While some planning authors, primarily in the area ofcommunity development, explore the basic principles associated withempowerment, rarely is this concept explicitly analyzed. Therelationship between empowerment and planning can be betterexplained than past efforts.DEFINITIONSSeveral terms are used throughout this thesis. The most frequentis empowerment, which is given an extensive definition in the nextchapter. Citizen participation is also frequently used. It ispreferred over other related terms with presumed similardefinitions, such as public participation, public consultation andpublic involvement.Citizen is preferred because of the implied value placed oninvolvement of the person - even if it is through participation inan organization. The use of the term "public" seems more relatedto poorly defined concepts like the "general good", or the "publicinterest", which can be manipulated to serve the interests of thoseapplying them.7The term participation also requires defining. Based ontraditional planning processes, participation can simply implybeing invited to a quasi-judicial hearing, where formal submissionsare made to a large audience, usually by professionals and experts,by speaking into a microphone. This will be, of course,intimidating to most people, yet many planners may not view or havebeen trained not to view "participation" beyond such anenvironment. A significant dimension of empowerment involves therecognition that self esteem plays an important part in the abilityof individuals to interact in meaningful ways with others.Participation evolves from an individual's "connectedness" withothers and the community as a whole, developed, in large part,through regular interaction on more personal levels. In otherwords, participation in this thesis means a sense of connection toothers, and a degree of control over one's life, not just the actof "being there". Community-based organizations can be appropriatevehicles for providing such opportunities for participation.Community-based is defined as local citizens directly involved inresearching needs and developing follow up actions to address theseidentified needs. Other terms used in this thesis, and definedwithin the paper include: human services, community developmentand, organizational development (Chapter II); and, consciousnessraising and conscientization (Chapter III).8In defining human services,^community development andorganizational development, several empowerment principles areconstant: both real and perceived control over one's environment(and decisions which impact that environment) are necessary; theopportunity to participate in decision making at progressive levelsshould not only be allowed but consciously nurtured by planningorganizations; and, improved self-esteem, as well as a greatersense of connectedness to others - often defined as a sense ofcommunity - is indicative that empowerment has taken place. Thesecould be classified as necessary elements or indicators of healthycommunities.Finally, the area of Vancouver examined in the case study is knownand referred to in supporting documents as both Joyce andCollingwood. For simplicity, the title of Collingwood will be usedhere.ORGANIZATION OF THE THESISChapter II contains an extensive review of empowerment from humanservices (social work and psychology), community development, andorganizational development literature. The purpose is twofold: topresent and analyze the many dynamics of empowerment so that therelationship between empowerment and planning can be betterunderstood; and, to illustrate that empowerment is widely9recognized as a valid, equitable, and ethical response to the needsof citizens, workers, organizations and communities.Chapter III provides a literature review and analysis of thephenomenon of consciousness raising, considered a mechanism forempowering, as well as an indicator that empowerment has indeedtaken place. Chapter IV also contains a literature review andtheoretical discussion of the role of citizen participation withindemocratic theory, expanding upon the psychological constructs ofempowerment established in Chapter II.Chapter V contains a case study of the establishment and ongoingdevelopment of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House in Vancouver. Itexamines the role of the City in this process, and the degree towhich initiatives of the City and actions of individual plannersserved to empower the community and its citizens.Chapter VI provides some broad conclusions, and discusses thepotential of employing a community-based organization as amechanism for empowering local communities and their citizens.10CHAPTER IIEMPOWERMENT"Empowerment is the new way which liberates usso we can believe in self, can act, be part of groupprocesses, both local and global, and build a betterworld."Kent GereckeINTRODUCTIONThis chapter presents several perspectives on the concept ofempowerment. The purpose is twofold: to present and analyze themany dynamics of empowerment so that the relationship betweenempowerment and planning can be better understood; and, toillustrate that empowerment is widely recognized as a valid,equitable, and ethical response to the needs of citizens, workers,organizations and communities.Since planners should be concerned with the development ofcommunities and their citizens it is argued that planning theoryand planning curriculum should incorporate empowerment principlesin order to provide a foundation for operationalizing empowermentin everyday planning practice.11DEFINING EMPOWERMENTJulian Rappaport is considered a pioneer in empowerment research(Hegar and Hunzeker, 1988; Swift, 1984). He views empowerment as"a mechanism by which people, organizations, and communities gainmastery over their lives" (Rappaport, 1984, p. 3), and theconveyance of "both a psychological sense of personal control orinfluence and a concern with actual social influence, politicalpower, and legal rights."(1987, p. 121) In this respect,empowerment is applicable to not only people but to neighbourhoods,organizations and communities. If individuals can exert controlthrough groups, then the group itself (neighbourhood, organization,community) can also exert control, and as such have power and beempowered.The broad spectrum of research and discussion on empowermentsupporting Rappaport's assumption includes analysis from a personaldevelopment context, as a long-term process of adult learning anddevelopment (Claque, 1971; Kidd, 1971; Freire, 1978; and, Kieffer,1984;), and an emotive sense of personal competency andself-esteem (Coopersmith, 1967; Pinderhughes, 1983; Hirayama andCetingok, 1988; and, Zimmerman and Rappaport, 1988). Otherperspectives include public participation and group dynamics withinthe context of organizational development (Guthrie, 1978; Katan,1981; Stokes, 1981; Riger, 1984; Beck and Hilimar, 1986;Butterwick, 1987; and, Gruber and Trickett, 1987), and public12agency planning (Willmott, 1971; Anderson and Boothroyd, 1983; and,Forester, 1989), as well as within the context of collectiveempowerment of groups, neighbourhoods and small communities, underthe banner of community development (Bregha, 1971; Compton, 1971;Deveaux and Deveaux, 1971; Katz, 1984; and Manson Willms andGilbert, 1991).However, through all of this literature the meaning of empowermentstill remains ambiguous. Rappaport provides some additionalclarity by noting,"empowerment is easy to define in its absence:powerlessness, real or imagined; learned helplessness;alienation; loss of a sense of control over one's life.It is more difficult to define positively only becauseit takes on a different form in different people andcontexts." (1984, p. 3)This is supported by Kieffer's research on personal empowerment, inwhich he succinctly defines powerlessness and empowerment asfollows:"Powerlessness is a construction of continuousinteraction between the person and his/her environment.It combines an attitude of self-blame, a sense ofgeneralized distrust, a feeling of alienation fromresources for social influence, an experience ofdisenfranchisement and economic vulnerability, and asense of hopelessness in socio-political struggle.Empowerment is a necessarily long-term process of adultlearning and development. . . the continuing construction ofa multi- dimensional participatory competence." (1984,p.16)13On a more generalized level, Well and Kruzich present the notionthat,"empowerment connotes actualizing the latent powers thatan individual or group possesses, or enabling them to usetheir capacities and power more effectively...In thissense the intent with clients is to enable them toinfluence their environment; with students, to enablethem to become self-directed and autonomous learners;and with practitioners and organizations, to enable themto meet the goal of service provision." (1990, p. 1)The argument presented here is that planning for healthycommunities requires an understanding by planners of the dynamicsof empowerment as it relates to three dimensions of society:individual citizens; communities; and, organizations. As such,this chapter will review empowerment literature along the followingdiscipline categories: human services, specifically social work andpsychology; community development; and, organizational development.Throughout each category, several empowerment themes are constant:both real and perceived control over one's environment (anddecisions which impact that environment) is necessary; theopportunity to participate in decision making at progressive levelsshould not only be allowed but consciously nurtured by planningorganizations; and, improved self-esteem, as well as a greatersense of connectedness to others - often defined as a sense ofcommunity - is indicative that empowerment has taken place. Thesethemes could be classified as necessary dimensions or indicators ofhealthy communities.14HUMAN SERVICESSOCIAL WORKReisch and Wencur (1986) refer to empowerment as the "Holy Grail"for many social workers in the 1980's. Social work literature,while emerging from both case studies of various clientinterventions and theoretical discussions of empowerment-basedpractice, emphasizes the development of personal power for"clients". Within this context, power is viewed as control overone's environment, with empowerment conceptualized as providingclients with the ability and capacity to adapt and copeconstructively with the forces that undermine and hinder coping(Pinderhughes, 1983; Hirayama and Centingok, 1988).For example, Hirayama and Cetingok, in analyzing their research onintervention with Asian immigrants, emphasize the concept of poweras the ability or capacity for adaptation. Coping, a function ofadaptation, is the expression of one's power over the environmentin order to control, organize, and integrate oneself and theenvironment for survival, security, and equilibrium. They arguethat, "one's sense of power is closely related to positive self-concept, self-esteem, sense of dignity, and sense of well-being asa human being."(1988, p. 42)15Many factors contribute to a sense of powerlessness, mostimportantly the loss of social support networks, status, roots andthe "connectedness" found in an individuals' native community.These are elements necessary to provide a "goodness of fit"(Germain, 1979; Pinderhughes, 1983) within society.Hirayama and Cetingok's analysis concludes that if empowerment isto be a goal of social work, practice should emphasize increasingthe coping and adaptational abilities of client/citizens, thereby"increasing their capacity for "connectedness" with other socialsystems by strengthening their ability to create relationships"(1988, p. 44). Since their research indicates that many culturesemphasize family and community loyalty, solidarity, andcooperation, Hirayama and Cetingok not only advocate empowering newimmigrants, but that it may be more appropriate to emphasizeempowerment of the family or community as a whole rather than tosimply focus on individuals. It is at the community level whereplanners can be most effective.From this perspective, for social workers to empower they may needto supply clients with power resources, such as (1) knowledge orinformation about where and how to secure needed resources(employment, money, health services), (2) knowledge aboutpolitical, civil and legal systems, (3) a set of attitudes andbehaviours or interpersonal skills that are effective in dealingwith social systems or organizations, and (4) clients' support16systems; that is, building networks of friends and acquaintanceswithin and outside of one's own ethnic community (Hirayama andCentingok, 1988).The model described by Hirayama and Centingok is interventionist,based on the client/helper relationship. Problems emerging fromthis model include perpetuation of the "clients" dependency onothers for power, based on the perspective that power is a scarceresource supplied or given by the worker. This model also accepts,or fails to explicitly address, that societal and systemicstructures and processes often impede the individuals attempts forpersonal development and growth. This can be categorized as theabsence of raised consciousness around these systemic impediments,and demonstrates the need to include social action and changewithin the empowerment equation.From a healthy community's perspective, an empowerment model basedon helping others to simply adapt to environments coopts thepowerless into believing that healthy communities are symbolized bypassive acceptance of the dominant culture, rather than a healthycommunity being one which allows for and accepts that individualcitizens will have divergent opinions and interests. The notion ofempowering others through the development of adaptation skills isparticularly disturbing when the dominant culture in western andtraditional democratic societies is paternalistic and perpetuatespowerlessness.17Hegar and Hunzeker (1988), in their theoretical discussion ofempowerment-based practice within the child welfare system,identify that this system operates within the "paternalistictradition" of state intervention. They conclude that not only arepublic agency clientele disproportionately from disempoweredgroups, they can become further disempowered by the system duringthe course of investigations, apprehension of their children,termination of parental rights, etc.. They and others(Pinderhughes, 1983; Bowen, 1978) argue that workers can empowerclients by teaching and modelling skills in the use of power andovercoming organizational barriers. However, this fails torecognize that "teaching" and "modelling" is also paternalistic,and does not necessarily result in learning and the discovery anddevelopment of skills and abilities.In her discussion of empowerment for both client and worker,Pinderhughes (1983) does advocate that knowledge of the dynamics ofhow power and powerlessness operate in human systems is imperative,and that practice should be based upon this knowledge. Byintegrating this "social systems" approach, she begins todifferentiate empowerment as more than control or the capacity toexert power, by adding the dimension of consciousness raising.Consciousness raising, she argues, is an empowerment strategy thateducates clients not only about power dynamics, but also how thesystems in which they live perpetuate powerlessness. The powerless18can recognize and understand processes within systems thatundermine their ability to function effectively as individuals,families, and communities. Cycles of powerlessness are perpetuatedas the systems which create this phenomenon also act to underminethe very skills that are so necessary for coping. Pinderhughesadds that,"the failure of the larger system to provide necessarysupport creates powerlessness in communities. And themore powerless a community due to denial of resources andnutritive supplies, the more the families within it arehindered from meeting the needs of their members and fromorganizing to improve the community so that it canprovide them with more support."(p. 332)Consciousness raising is seen as an essential component of theempowerment process for both client and worker, since the workersthemselves are part of the system within which change must occur.Without such a consciousness raising experience, the communityworker is susceptible to becoming part of the "benevolent, over-sympathetic segment of society that improves its functioning at theexpense of the pitiful."(Bowen, 1978, p. 444) Therefore, workersmust be conscious about the extent to which their efforts helpclients maintain the disempowering "social system equilibrium" thatvictimizes them. (Pinderhughes, 1983)Within this framework, empowerment provides the ability andcapacity to cope constructively with the forces that undermine andhinder coping: the achievement of some reasonable control overdestiny. Achieving this also requires the helper, in a social-19change role, influencing the external social system through variousmeans, including power, pressure, negotiation, or working jointlywith the extra-familial systems to link up with the existingsupport systems or build new ones. Pinderhughes adds, this mayinclude influencing existing support systems or building new ones,such as self-help and action groups.Staples views the concept of empowerment as including both processand product dimensions. Essential to this notion is effectiveaction on behalf of self (whether individually or collectively),operationalized as "the ongoing capacity of individuals or groupsto act on their own behalf to achieve a greater measure of controlover their lives and destinies." (1990, p. 30)Empowerment is then inextricably linked to both the ability andopportunity to make decisions and act on one's own behalf.Individual empowerment evolves through personal development,involving both growth of skills and abilities and theopportunities to exert them - as well as a more positive self-definition. There is an increased sense of personal dignity,self-respect, and self-esteem as those who become empowered feelbetter about themselves. As self-confidence is developed,strengthened personal abilities allow for greater action on behalfof oneself.20Central to Staple's argument is the belief, or world view, that theability to redefine oneself and to act effectively on ones' ownbehalf is not only the essence of empowerment, it is a basic humanneed. She concludes that,"(T)he person who lacks power and control over his or herown life has been stripped of a fundamental element ofone's humanity. This transcends even the loss of dignity- it is the loss of self. The individual who becomesmore empowered has become more human in the fullest senseof the word."(1990, p. 32)Moreau (1990) argues that empowerment of oppressed clients requiresa "structural approach", comprising two inter-related roles forsocial workers: to explore with clients the sociopolitical andeconomic forces that perpetuate their powerlessness, in order tocollectivize rather than personalize and individualize their sourceand solution; and, to change client consciousness in order toreverse the process of self-disempowerment or of internalizedoppression. This latter role is deemed necessary because theoppressive social order may seriously impair a client's capacitiesto accurately construe reality.Once again, empowerment through intervention and "changing" theclient assumes that power and enlightenment can be given from oneto another. Friere (1976) illustrates the contradiction in thisnotion through his concept of "conscientization", the belief thatauthentic knowledge is when an individual becomes the subject oftheir world rather than the object. While Moreau's first role,21exploring with clients the socio-political forces that perpetuatepowerlessness, can provide individuals with a theoretical basis foraction, it is only through action, and subsequent reflection, thatconsciousness is changed, conscientization takes place, and one'sworld transformed. In this context critical consciousness is notchanged through the actions of others, but rather transformedthrough one's own actions and reflections on the theory behind theaction. (Conscientization is explored further in Chapter III.)SOCIAL WORK REVIEWThemes or schools of thought emerging from the social workliterature include the need for worker intervention with societalstructures and support systems, and, raising the consciousness ofboth workers and clients around the forces that perpetuatepowerlessness and oppression. While these themes are echoedthroughout the remainder of this chapter by other authors anddisciplines, the social work literature illustrates a reliance onthe clinical or medical approach to working with individuals andgroups. This is evident in the consistent references to "changing"the client, the need to "intervene" in the clients world, theworkers "giving" or "sharing" of power with clients, and "teaching"clients how to act more powerfully.22These concepts are more consistent with ideologies of paternalism(Hegar and Hunzeker, 1988), the notion of power being a scarcecommodity (Katz, 1984), and the needs model of people in difficultyseen as children (Rappaport, 1981). From an empowermentperspective, these concepts also place too great an emphasis on theworker as 'expert' who, despite the best intentions, can createexpectations and structures whereby an initial reliance on theirknowledge endures (Katz, 1984).PSYCHOLOGYThe broad field of psychology analyzes empowerment from anemotional-development perspective based primarily on research ofsocial interaction between individuals and others, often within agroup context. Coopersmith (1967) presents one of the morecomprehensive and in-depth psychological explorations of howpersonal competence and self-esteem are developed. He positsthere are four major bases of esteem: competence, significance,virtue, and power. "That is, persons come to evaluate themselvesaccording to how proficient they are at performing tasks, how wellthey meet ethical or religious standards, how loved and acceptedthey are by others, and how much power they exert." (p. 262)His research indicated that individuals with high self-esteem feelcapable of coping with adversity, and competent enough to achieve23success, while "the individual with low self-esteem feels helpless,vulnerable, and inadequate."(Coopersmith, 1967, p. 261) He drawsa strong correlation between self-esteem and empowerment, sincethose who have greater self-esteem are more actively involved indecisions affecting their own life, and in civic activitiesaffecting their immediate neighbourhood and larger community. Inother words, higher self-esteem is associated with control overone's life in general.COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGYA substantive body of knowledge and research explicitly onempowerment can be found within Community Psychology literature.Community Psychology by definition is concerned with therelationship and interface between individual and organizationalprocesses (Keys and Frank, 1987; Moos, 1984; Newbrough, 1973).While much of the literature analyzes field research and casestudies, there is considerable discussion (Rappaport, 1981, 1987;Kieffer, 1984; Hess, 1984) of a theory of empowerment being themost suitable theory for Community Psychology, replacing theideology of prevention in mental health.Rappaport proclaims that, "the aim of our community of (CommunityPsychology) scientists is to develop a theory of empowerment.",adding that,24"(T)he hallmark of a Community Psychology world view,developed in the context of the community of CommunityPsychologists, toward which we direct our symbolicgeneralizations, our models, and our exemplars, orconcrete problem solutions, at every level of analysis,from the individual to the community, and into which allour data (as well as data we adapt from others) canultimately fit, is empowerment."(1987, p. 131)Wolff's "activist" perspective further qualifies the relationshipbetween empowerment and Community Psychology by establishing that"empowerment is not the solution to all our problems, but when wetake a careful look at what the origins of what the problems are,we often see that a key component of a system of interventionsneeds to include empowerment."(1987, p. 167) Echoing Pinderhughessocial work perspective, Wollf adds that what distinguishesempowerment from the more traditional definition of prevention isthe emphasis on the community, in addition to the individual andfamily.Rappaport reinforces this assertion by observing that empowermentis not only an individual psychological phenomenon, it is alsoorganizational, political, sociological, economic, and spiritual.He adds that community psychologists "are as much concerned withempowered organizations, neighbourhoods, and communities as we arewith empowered individuals."(1987, p. 130)Returning to Rappaport's views presented earlier, empowerment isboth "a mechanism by which people, organizations, and communitiesgain mastery over their lives" ( 1984, p. 3), and the conveyance of25"both a psychological sense of personal control or influence and aconcern with actual social influence, political power, and legalrights." (1987, p. 121) In this respect, empowerment isapplicable to not only people but to neighbourhoods, organizationsand communities. If individuals can exert control through groups,then the group itself (neighbourhood, organization, community) canalso exert control, and as such, have power and be empowered.He adds that, "to understand the meaning of empowerment one mustknow something about more than individuals; one must also knowwhat, or who, one has authority over. There is built into the terma quality of the relationship between a person and his or hercommunity, environment, or something outside one's self." (1987, p.130; original italics).EMPOWERED COMMUNITIES, NEIGHBOURHOODS AND ORGANIZATIONSThe Community Psychology literature does not explicitly define howa community, neighbourhood or organization can be empowered,particularly in the same context as an individual can be empowered.Evidence provided through case studies reveals that the notion of"learned helplessness" for individuals (perceived lack of powerover situations) can be applied to groups and communities, wherelearned helplessness is exhibited through apathy and alienation(Seligman, Greer and Maier, 1968; Rappaport, 1977; Serrano-Garcia,1984).26Implicit within the literature is the notion that organizations andcommunities may be empowered by altering imbalances in resources -ie., wealth and decision making power (Ryan, 1981) - achieved, inpart, through access to and possession of available resources(Rappaport, 1981).The lack or absence of power at the community level is also relatedto the absence of a psychological sense of community (Sarason,1974). Therefore, the goal of empowering communities andcommunity-based organizations may be achieved both throughdeveloping a greater sense of community, and by directing resourcesto community organizations.Empowering the individual and the community becomes a reciprocalrelationship, where the individual is empowered throughopportunities to participate or connect with others in thecommunity, participation which can be provided and nurtured throughcommunity-based organizations. A greater personal sense ofcommunity can emerge for individuals who are encouraged to interactor participate with others and share decision making.Organizations which act to empower individuals by nurturingparticipation in the actions of the organization will, themselves,be empowered through the emergence of the psychological sense ofcommunity, developed amongst the citizenry. It follows, then, thatempowered organizations or communities, as with empowered27individuals, must have a strong sense of ability, as well as realopportunity to influence outside persons or organizations - e.g.,planning agencies, local politicians - whose decisions may impactthe community.From this, an empowered organization can be defined as having theability to control decisions that affect the organization itself,and its collective membership. Beyond this ability is the raisedawareness of the systemic or institutional barriers which may actto constrain this control.Government policies and practices (such as direct funding andsupport from staff) which afford community-based organizationsthese opportunities and nurture these abilities can provide thebasic resources necessary to empower organizations, and, in turn,the individuals, and communities which the organizations are a partof. The substantial difference between empowered individuals andcommunity-based organizations is the reality that opportunities andabilities to effectively exert control outside of the immediateneighbourhood or community may only be achieved by theorganization. Reasons behind this may include the practical aspectof strength in numbers, and the philosophical issue that theorganization, and not the individual will be seen by outsiders asrepresentative of the collective interests of the community.28The literature provides a framework for defining indicators ofempowerment for individuals. These indicators include high selfesteem, a strong sense of control over decisions, a strongconnectedness with others (sense of community), and a raisedawareness (consciousness) of the forces that perpetuatepowerlessness and undermine one's efforts to move beyond the stateof powerlessness. When an individual is empowered they develop astrong commitment to both their own personal development andinterests, as well as to the development of others. In otherwords, someone cannot be seen as empowered unless theirrelationships with others are based on the notion that power isrenewable and expandable (synergistic), and not a scarce resourceto be competed for. This model of interaction with others can, inturn, empower others.Following this model, organizations, neighbourhoods and communitiescan empower others by interacting with and relating individuals tothe organization in a manner that recognizes differences inherentwithin dynamic communities.Both Wolff (1987) and Rappaport (1987) emphasize the importance ofan "ecological theory" to understanding the longitudinaldevelopment of empowerment in both people and in settings. Wolffrefers to this as an ecological belief system of human behaviour inwhich behaviour is a function of both the organism and theenvironment. (The social work concept "goodness-of-fit" discussed29above, is an ecological/ environmental theory articulated byGermain {1979}). When environments are supportive and nutritive,people flourish as their goodness-of-fit with the environmentfacilitates personal growth and development, and the realization oftheir potential. Rappaport (1981) proposes this theory as anantidote to the "one sidedness" of person-centred, interventionprograms, since the ecological approach can provide a much broaderrange of contextual understanding. This approach also emphasizesthe role relationships between people, policy, programs andprofessionals.PSYCHOLOGICAL EMPOWERMENTZimmerman and Rappaport researched the relationship betweenperceived control and citizen participation in an effort to betterunderstand what they term "psychological empowerment". Thisphenomenon is described as "the connection between a sense ofpersonal competence, and a desire for, and a willingness to takeaction in the public domain."(1988, p. 725) In this context, theydefine empowerment as a multilevel construct that links individualstrengths and competencies, natural helping systems, and proactivebehaviours to matters of social policy and social change, withpsychological empowerment as the expression of this construct atthe level of individual persons.30Zimmerman and Rappaport examined the relationship betweenempowerment and citizen participation in three studies (theybroadly define citizen participation as involvement in anyorganized activity in which the individual participates without payin order to achieve a common goal). The first study was designedto identify four types of citizen participants and theirconcomitant level of psychological empowerment, using hypotheticalscenarios offering individuals an opportunity to exert control andinfluence, measuring the extent to which they feel their actionswill be related to outcomes (locus of control). Eleven dependantpsychometric measures relevant to psychological empowerment weredeveloped, representing personality, cognitive, and motivationalaspects of empowerment.Cognitive aspects of control were seen as self-efficacy or thebelief that one has the skills and ability to achieve goals, andpolitical-efficacy, the belief that it is possible to influence thepolitical process and community decision making. Motivationalvariables of psychological empowerment used were the desire forcontrol, and civic duty or the belief that one ought to participatein the political process as a responsibility to others. The secondand third studies followed the same method as the first, exceptthat naturalistic behaviours of participants, rather thanhypothetical scenarios, were examined.31Their findings suggest that psychological empowerment is related toactual participation in one's community, and that empowerment isnot only a self-perception of competence and control, but includesa concern for the common good and a sense of connectedness toothers (goodness of fit). The results of this research supportsthe hypothesis that greater participation in community activitiesand organizations is both a vehicle for and a significant indicatorof psychological empowerment, and, as such, community health.They also conclude that empowerment might be expected to developmore in organizations that encourage participation in decisionmaking,^and that more hierarchical,^rigidly delineatedorganizations may be less likely to promote the development ofpsychological empowerment.The latter conclusion illustrates the potential dilemma faced whenplanners work with community organizations and individual citizenswhile operating within a hierarchical organizational culture.Planners feeling powerless within their own organization may havedifficulty empowering others, since they may become coerced intoadapting to a dis-empowering culture.Conversely, Gruber and Trickett's research of participativedecision-making within an alternative public school (1987) provideda different result from Zimmerman and Rappaport, suggesting noclear correspondence between the availability of empowermentstructures around decision making and the psychological sense of32empowerment. Gruber and Trickett concluded that although morecareful attention to contextually based inequalities would improvethe prospects for empowerment, there is a "fundamental paradox" inthe idea of people empowering others because the very institutionalstructure that puts one group in a position to empower also worksto undermine the act of empowerment.Such an analysis fails to recognize the role consciousness raisingcan play for both worker and client in anticipating and minimizingthe countervailing effects of such a paradox. Nonetheless, Gruberand Trickett make an important and useful distinction betweenactual control and the psychological sense of control describedabove. This is supported by Serrano-Garcia's (1984) case study onempowerment in Puerto Rico, which analyses empowerment within acolonial context.The contribution of Community Psychology to the study andunderstanding of empowerment can be summarized in the followingoutline of 11 assumptions, presuppositions, and hypotheses builtinto the discipline's ecological theory.1. Empowerment is a multilevel construct, therefore research shouldbe concerned with the study of and relationships within and betweenlevels of analysis - individuals, groups, organizations, and othersettings, communities, and social policies.2. The radiating impact of one level of analysis on the others isassumed to be important. Empowerment theory assumes thatunderstanding persons, settings, or policies requires multiplemeasures from differing points of view and different levels ofanalysis.333. The historical context in which a person, a program, or a policyoperates has an important influence on the outcomes of the program.Failure to consider this results in a lack of understanding of aprogram's place in the community before and after its existence.4. The cultural context matters. Both individuals and settingsbring with them a variety of "cultures", and the match or mismatchbetween them will impact the empowerment process.5. Longitudinal research, or the study of people, organizations,and policies over time, is seen to be at least desirable, andperhaps necessary. If empowerment operates as expected,longitudinal research is necessary in order to understand it. Itmay be that as much can be learned from the study of one setting,or a few people over time, as from the study of large numbers ofindividuals.6. Empowerment theory is self-consciously a world view theory. Thatis to say, those who hold this view do so because they admit tocertain assumptions based on their values, goals, attitudes,beliefs, and intentions. In this instance this is understood tomean making what is implicit, explicit. There are at least twoimplications of this assumption:(a) The people of concern are to be treated as collaborators; andat the same time, the researcher may be thought of as aparticipant, legitimately involved with the people she is studying.The researcher in this way may be more like ananthropologist/action researcher than a laboratory scientist.(b) The choice of our language is seen to be very important as towhat it communicates, and metacommunicates, not only to otherresearchers and policy makers but also to those being studied. Thisis a crucial point to the theory of empowerment, since the termsused to describe work with people changes the way people thinkabout themselves, either impeding or enhancing comprehension oftheir own ability for self and mutual help.7. It is assumed that the conditions of participation in a settingwill have an impact on the empowerment of the members. Settingswith more opportunities for participation are more likely to beempowering settings, with the results varying based on the historyand culture of both the person(s) and the setting.8. Other things being equal, an organization that holds anempowerment ideology will be better at finding and developingresources than one with a helper-helpee ideology, where resourceswill be seen as relatively scarce, and dependant on professionals.349. Locally developed solutions are more empowering than singlesolutions applied in a general way, and applied in the form ofprepackaged interventions.10. The size of the setting matters.^Settings that are smallenough to provide meaningful roles for all members, yet largeenough to obtain resources, are hypothesized as more likely tocreate the conditions that lead to empowerment.11. Empowerment is not a scarce resource which gets used-up, butrather, once adopted as an ideology, empowerment tends to expandresources.(Zimmerman and Rappaport, 1988)COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENTExamining empowerment within this context is aided by a discussionof the definition of 'community development'.COMMUNITYCommunity has been described in a number of terms, including agroup of people perceiving common needs and problems, that acquirea sense of identity focused around these problems and that a commonset of objectives grow out of these (Roberts, 1979); a symbol forrelationships in which the experiences of social solidarity, mutualopenness of character, and common search for the truth are dominant(Cochran, 1982); or simply as a geographical area where people live(Kaul, 1985). Meanwhile, Morris and Hess (1975) view concretegeographical areas as neighbourhoods and community as an abstractunity based on something other than geography.35The idea and study of community has been a central interest in thefield of sociology. For instance Tonnies, writing in latenineteenth century Germany, defined community in several terms,including the degree of attachment to a specific location, throughhis variation on the "eternal theme of Gemeinschaft andGesellschaft" (Tonnies, 1957, x). A place community or locality isbased upon a common habitat or ownership of adjacent (or nearby)properties, e.g., neighbourhoods, villages, towns or cities. Anonplace community or mind community is characterized bycooperation and coordinated action for a common goal, withoutreference to place, e.g., religious orders and professions.Tonnies also described community as being held together by twosorts of bonds. A gemeinschaft community is characterized byimplicit bonds that relate all community members to each other,based upon common values and beliefs, mutual interdependence,respect, and a shared sense of status hierarchy. Culturaltraditions and complementary social expectations, rather thanformalized written codes or contracts, establish community rulesregarding relationships, producing "a real being with an organicform of life", characterized by intimate, private, and exclusiveliving together. Each person's membership in the community isviewed as natural, something expected to last a lifetime because ofthe emotional meaning it has for other community members as well asfor the individual.36Gesellschaft communities are characterized by bonds which arepre-dominantly formal, impersonal, and secular in tone. Communitymembers relate to one another through formally structured relationswithin community institutions such as work organizations,professions, and civic organizations.DEVELOPMENTVarious perspectives on development include the reallocation ofassets and power (Bregha, 1971), experiential learning and the actof knowing (Freire, 1978), and going forward with defined goals,with purposeful activity aimed at real achievement (Griffiths,1982).Numerous definitions of community development have been presentedin the literature (Compton, 1971; Edwards and Jones, 1976; Shirley,1979; Ponting, 1986). While these definitions focus upon communitydevelopment either as a process or a desired product, others(MacMillan, 1991; Edwards and Jones, 1976; and, Johnston, 1982)point out that unsuccessful efforts often result from not fullyintegrating the following characteristics:- Members of the community must organize themselves and participatefully in the organizations or institutions they create.37- Community members must share responsibility for theidentification of community problems and for designing solutions tothese problems (i.e., they must not rely solely on outsideprofessionals).- The role of outsiders must, whenever possible, be limited to theprovision of needed funds, materials and technical expertise sothat the community retains control over planning its own future.- Community development is a learning process, and communitydevelopment initiatives must be used to enhance the planning,administrative and technical skills of the community.- Extensive and open discussion should be the norm, and communityconsensus should be sought whenever possible.- The presence of some emotional commitment to the effort on thepart of the people involved.- The formalization of goals to assure that their meaning isconveyed to the people involved.- Using procedures that were designed for effectiveness and forconsistency with those goals.- Attention for people's felt need for action.- Consideration to the socio-cultural, demographic, and ecologicalfeatures of the community as a whole.Here community development is defined as involving two phenomena:the conscious effort of local citizens to improve the quality oflife for individuals and collective others in a geographic area -i.e., village, neighbourhood - with a necessary dimension of thiseffort involving the nurtured participation of those sameindividuals; and, secondly, increasing the connectedness or"goodness of fit" individuals have with each other, often emergingfrom such collective action.38COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND EMPOWERMENTIn an encompassing definition, MacMillan sees community developmentas, "both a process and product of purposive social action whichresults in community empowerment." (1991, p. 6)Compton reduces the relationship between empowerment and communitydevelopment to its essence by arguing that "community developmentis not much more than people participating in the improvement oftheir lot" (1971, p. 384). He adds that not only allowing butencouraging people to participate in their own positive growth(development) is a process of empowerment, which ultimately resultsin positive growth for the individuals' community.Rappaport illustrates two further elements of the relationshipbetween empowerment and community development, presented as thepolitical ideology of empowerment:"On the one hand (community development) demands that welook to many diverse local settings where people arealready handling their own problems in living, in orderto learn more about how they do it...On the other hand,it demands that we find ways to take what we learn fromthese diverse settings and solutions and make it morepublic, so as to help foster social policies and programsand make it more rather than less likely that others notnow handling their own problems in living or shut outfrom current solutions, gain control over theirlives."(1981, p. 15)39For Katz, when the process of empowerment is merged with synergythis accesses valued human resources to achieve "synergisticcommunities". Within the synergistic paradigm, empowerment isviewed as "a self generating and generative resource...activated byindividuals and communities who function as its guardian and notits possessor, and who, often guided by the motivation to helpothers, allow the resource to be shared by all members of thecommunity." (1984, p. 202)Synergistic patterns bring phenomena together throughinterrelation, often with an unexpected, new and greater wholeemerging from the "disparate, seemingly conflicting parts." Withinthis pattern, Katz adds, "phenomena exist in harmony with eachother, maximizing each other's potential. Within the synergyparadigm, a resource (such as empowerment) expands and becomesrenewable, yet it can remain valuable."(1984, p. 202; parenthesesadded)Synergy describes a pattern by which phenomena relate to eachother, including how people relate to each other and otherphenomena (Fuller, 1963; Benedict, 1970; Maslow 1971). The"synergistic paradigm" is the antithesis of the "scarcityparadigm", with the latter assuming that valued resources arescarce, with this scarcity largely determining their value tosociety. Even empowerment can become limited if it is framed withinthe scarcity paradigm, since power is viewed as a scarce resource40individuals and groups will be forced to compete for, with thelikely result of "haves" and "have-nots" in communities. Forinstance, Katz points out that from the scarcity perspective,"even the best intentioned experts can createexpectations and structures whereby an initial relianceon their knowledge endures. Those who seek to empowercontinue to direct the process of empowerment, and thosewho seek to become empowered continue to look outsidethemselves for advice."(1984, p. 205)From a community development perspective, the concept of"synergistic communities" is viewed as an empowering environment,in which empowerment increases synergistically. Empowerment is notlimited to or identified with individual participants, rather itbecomes a resource beyond the self, occurring both acrossindividuals and within communities. Yet within the synergisticparadigm, the sense of empowerment is not separated from socialstructure, so that within synergistic communities individual andsocial change are intimately linked, enhancing each other'seffect.COMMUNITY PARTICIPATIONIndividual and collective participation in the planning,implementation, and evaluation of programs is innate as a centraltheme of empowerment within community development. Wandersman andGiamartino (1980) conducted a significant study, investigatingfactors influencing initial participation and non-participation in41neighbourhood "block" organization meetings. Their concern waswith how characteristics of the community and of individualsinfluence initial participation. They conclude that the perceptionby residents of concrete problems and of an environmental climateconducive to working on them (perceived control) creates anecessary, although not complete, context for successfulorganization. "Within a conducive atmosphere" they conclude,"participants are distinguished from non-participants by the extentto which they know their neighbours and they feel their actionswill be related to outcomes."(1980, p. 226)Johnston categorizes citizen participation within communitydevelopment as "community participation". She and others (Burke,1968; Arnstein, 1969; Katan, 1981) argue that there are progressivelevels of participation, adding that, "the primary aim ofcommunity-based programmes is to promote human development and thiscan only be achieved if people participate at increasinglyresponsible levels."(1982, p. 202) This is reinforced byCoopersmith's (1967) conclusion that "steamroller tactics,arbitrary procedures, and exclusion from consultation leave theminority with a sense of powerlessness, which presumably subvertstheir sense of esteem."(1967, p. 199)42PARTICIPATION AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERVENTIONSeveral authors, including Allred (1976) and Wandersman andGiamartino (1980), observed that most disenfranchised citizens andgroups have little faith in government-sponsored developmentinitiatives, nor significant opportunities to participate in them.Therefore, community participation must, in most cases, bepurposively stimulated through strategies which both developgraduating levels of responsibility, while at the same timeenabling each citizen to accept greater levels of responsibility,at the citizens discretion. Planners can be effective in suchstrategies by facilitating the development and monitoring ofinitiatives in cooperation with the agency and the community.Johnston (1982) views the success of such strategies as dependanton the following four basic elements:(a) the existence of mutual trust between members of the community,between them and their leaders, and in outsiders cooperating withthe community in the development of community- based activities.The greater the level and spread of trust the greater the chance ofparticipation at all levels.(b) people must be given opportunities to participate. Outsideagencies and community leaders must have trust in the people'sability to participate effectively in all facets of the planningprocess. Not only must the initiators believe, but the peoplethemselves need to have a sense of self-worth and self-confidencein their ability to participate effectively.^This point iscritical to empowering communities.A weakness of many community development programs is that they maysucceed in giving the elite, or the relatively well-off members ofthe community, the opportunity to participate, while failing tostimulate the participation of the disenfranchised, even at themost basic level of participation.43Strategies must include intensive efforts to stimulate andencourage the participation of those most in need of improvedself-worth, i.e., members of the lower classes.(c) the community must consider programmes worthwhile, based onproviding something of value to them. Failure to achieve tangibleand meaningful results within reasonable amounts of time willdilute enthusiasm and be unsuccessful in attracting dynamicparticipation of citizens. For example, including a programmemonitoring system, one where citizens are directly involved inplanning, implementation and analysis, should effectively maintaincommunity interest.(d) the community must have a strong sense of ownership andresponsibility for the programme.^A continuous process ofawareness must be created of the citizens changing needs, theurgency/priority for addressing these needs, and the resourcesavailable to do so.^Agencies must be prepared to graduallydiminish their role, perhaps through a greater sensitivity toemerging opportunities for the community to assume more and moreresponsibility for the implementation of programmes.^Citizenability and confidence in participating responsibly can onlyincrease through experiences gained as participants.Munro provides an additional perspective of community development,based upon two phases of organizational intervention: communityanimation - facilitating the community- based identification ofpeoples needs, the establishment of organizations to facilitatemeeting these needs, and the fostering of a sense of community andcapacity for collective strength in place of individual alienationand resignation; and, secondly, societal and institutional supportfor the empowered community. Regarding the latter, Munro adds, "ifcommunity development is to become a reality and not a mere sham,then (planners) must be prepared to mobilize the necessaryresources - to meet the legitimate demands of the new community."(1970, p. 5)44ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENTEmpowerment from the perspective of organizational developmentimplies the explicit involvement of clients and employees invarious aspects of organizational decision making. For empowermentto take place within such a context, participatory practices mustbe targeted at developing the competencies and abilities of boththe participant and the organization. This can be termed personaland organizational development.DEFINITIONBennis defines organizational development as, "a response tochange, a complex educational strategy intended to change thebeliefs, attitudes, values and structure of organizations so thatthey can better adapt."(1969, p. 50)For Beck and Hillmar, empowerment from an organizational develop-ment perspective is "a process, or enabling means, by which (the)organization can maximize the efforts and effectiveness of peoplein using power", with their view of power as "the energy, capacity,or force to accomplish the outcome you want."(1986, p. 122)Empowerment provides the mechanism for transforming that energyinto productive work that accomplishes organization results.45Empowering both workers and clients is seen as a positiveorientation towards organizational development, one that assumeseach individual has rich potential capable of improving the growthand performance of the organization. Planning for healthycommunities from an empowerment model also requires anunderstanding of how organizations can plan, manage, and use powerin positive ways. Organizational development can often be achievedthrough participation of both internal and external actors.Client or citizen participation can be a mechanism employed byorganizations for various reasons. These can include participationstrategies which can either empower or disempower (coopt) clients,and can serve various roles which organizations perceive forcitizen/clients, including: conformist roles - those that arenarrowly defined and have little effect on the organization, usedmore for controlling clients; mediation roles - that serve mainlyas a bridge between client and organization; and, changing roles-that allow participants to affect policies, structure, andactivities of organizations.(Katan, 1981) The latter two roles canbe seen as the only ones which would involve empowerment of thecitizen/client, the former considered disempowering.Katan (1981), expanding upon previous work by Burke (1968) termed"strategy objectives", summarized the following motives/rationalefor involving clients in community organizations:46- clients have a basic right to participate in organizations whoseservices directly affect their lives. This is viewed as a primaryvalue of democratic societies that are committed to the individualsright for freedom and self-determination.- participation may counterbalance the negative effects ofcommunity loss in contemporary society. These negative effects arebrought on through urbanization, technological development,bureaucratization and accompanied by a decline of primary socialframeworks such as the extended family and the "Gemeinschaft" kindof community. These variables are linked to passivity, anonymity,and powerlessness, as well as different forms of deviant behaviourwithin communities.^As such, this motive emphasizes thecontribution of citizens to the renaissance of the local community,and to the restoration of meaningful relations among its residents.- participation acts as a mechanism for educating individuals,either where participation educates them to properly perform theirroles as organizational clients or where it enhances theircitizenship.- participation acts as citizen/client therapy, whereby thepassive role of receiving help is countervailed by enabling activeparticipation in service delivery processes. This "helper therapy"motive is based in part on the principle that improved self-imageand increased community participation results from the role ofhelper rather than helpee.(Reisman, 1965)- participation strengthens the power of individuals andcommunities by organizing them into interest groups to collectivelyexpress their needs and impose pressures on authorities andinstitutions which affect their lives.- participation serves as a vehicle for sharing experientialknowledge from citizen/clients to the agency, complementing theprofessional knowledge existing within the organization. The needto combine both forms of knowledge is based on the assumption thatindividual and social needs and problems are multi-dimensional,therefore require the combination of professionals and participantsfrom the community.- participation is a mechanism to broaden the base of legitimacyand community support for organizations, within the context ofimproving leverage and bargaining power between the localorganization and outside agencies, to which the local one isdependant on for resources.- participation as a mechanism for controlling the behaviour ofcitizen/clients (cooptation), also referred to as "conforming".Involvement or participation within the organization may beutilized by organizations as a cover for activities designed to47prevent or limit external threats toward the organization, and tomobilize support for programs.- participation as an opportunity to effect change withinorganizations. Change may occur in two ways, by allowing clientsto pressure the organization and counteract pressure clientsreceive from other organizations, as well as through the opening ofnew channels of communication between agencies and citizen/clients.The latter process may increase both the opportunity to expressneeds and opinions to the organization, as well as the agencies'readiness to listen to them and to take this information intoaccount when developing and evaluating programmes.SUMMARYEmpowerment suggests an individual's determination over one's ownlife, as well as democratic participation in the life of one'scommunity, often through relations with mediating structures insociety (entities that can connect individuals to the largercommunity) such as schools, churches, and other community-basedorganizations. Empowerment implies fostering local solutions by apolicy which strengthens rather than weakens these mediatingstructures. These relations also satisfy a basic human need ofconnection or attachment between people and their community, which,if absent, perpetuates a sense of powerlessness, alienation, anddespair.Research (Coopersmith, 1967; and, Zimmerman and Rappaport, 1988)supports the notion that those who are allowed and encouraged bysocietal institutions to actively participate in planning processeswill be characterized by higher levels of self-esteem.48Such practices can also strengthen the psychological sense ofcommunity. Therefore, organizations and systems that activelyfoster and promote participation can provide a foundation forimproved community health by increasing the connectedness betweenindividual citizens and the larger community.The thesis presented here echoes the assessment that empowermentcan be a process where planning agencies and individual plannerscan promote community health by fostering and promoting a greatersense of community. This may be achieved by consciously andsystematically involving citizens in decision-making throughcommunity-based organizations. The literature tests and supportsthe contention that improved self esteem and participatorycompetence not only result from such involvement and communityaction, but also act to increase a sense of community. It alsosupports the notion that communities and organizations are entitieswhich can be empowered both by direct (eg., financial) and indirect(eg., political) support from outside the community, as well asthrough the increased sense of community which emerges from theempowerment of individual citizens and members.For planners, the concept of empowerment is a departure from thepaternalistic model of interacting with communities, which is thehallmark of traditional planning. Planners within local governmenthave operated within a professional and political culture thatemphasizes product over process, a corporate approach to planning49which suggests that as the "experts" we must plan for ourcommunities, rather than plan with them.A key to empowerment for planners may be the conscious effort ofplanning (and human service) agencies to foster individualempowerment through the establishment and support of community-based organizations. These organizations should encourageparticipation in decision making, and provide a variety of flexibleroles for citizen/clients to fill; roles which reflect graduatingdegrees of responsibility.From a healthy community's perspective, traditional planninginitiatives emphasize existing power dynamics, often with animplicit goal of maintaining the status quo in relation to controlover community decision making. This coopts the powerless intobelieving that healthy communities are those with a high degree ofsatisfaction with the dominant culture, rather than a healthycommunity being one which allows for and accepts that individualcitizens will have divergent opinions and interests. Planners mayalso play a role in facilitating the community's attempts to strivefor consensus when these contrasting or divergent interests are inconflict.For empowerment to emerge a number of actions must take place,including the powerless must experience a consciousness raising orenlightenment, enabling them to recognize obstacles to improving50the quality of their life. Planners must also become enlightenedabout the dynamics of empowerment, understanding that their roleshould involve empowering communities by fostering indigenousleadership capable of establishing further empowerment strategiesat the "grass-roots" level. Planning institutions must providesupport and legitimization for these locally-based indigenousorganizations, organizations which provide a connectedness betweenlocal citizens and others through increasing levels ofparticipation and responsibility for members.The literature review illustrates that empowerment is widelyanalyzed and employed by several disciplines as a mechanism forimproving the lives of others. The literature also revealsinconsistencies in both the definition and practice of empowerment,ranging from teaching the powerless to adapt to the status quo, toviewing empowerment as more suitable than prevention as thetheoretical basis for mental health services. This inconsistencyreveals the critical need for developing a strong theoreticalfoundation for professional practice, particularly when attemptingto apply such a multi-dimensional concept as empowerment. Theimplications of improved self esteem and increased participatorycompetence for more effective planning is evident from theliterature, based both on case studies and theoretical discussions.51If planners are to incorporate empowerment in planning practice,and it is argued here they should, then planners must betterunderstand and more consistently apply the fundamental principlesof empowerment, and develop a stronger theoretical basis for doingso. To advocate for empowerment as a basis for planning practiceprior to developing a more explicit theoretical foundation wouldboth reduce the effectiveness of our actions in the field, andundermine efforts to shift from or change the paternalistic culturewithin which we currently operate. As Rappaport reminded hisCommunity Psychology colleagues, "If we do not develop our owntheories we will adopt other (less appropriate) theories bydefault" (1987, p. 123; original parentheses). This has credencefor the planning field as well.52CHAPTER IIICONSCIOUSNESS RAISINGChapter II illustrates that an integral dimension of empowerment iscognitive awareness by all participants of the emotional,organizational and systemic processes and forces which effectivelyinhibit or nurture personal or collective power, also referred toas consciousness raising. A thorough examination of empowermentdemands a greater discussion of the concept of consciousnessraising, which is considered as a mechanism for empowering, as wellas an indicator that empowerment has indeed taken place. Thepurpose of this chapter is to analyze the phenomenon ofconsciousness raising, including two related concepts, feminism andconscientization, to assess the significance of these concepts whenapplying the empowerment model to planning.CONSCIOUSNESS RAISINGWithin the concept of consciousness raising, the citizen is viewedas developing social self by becoming aware (conscious) of oneselfas a social being, a precursor to overcoming powerlessness. It isprimarily through mediating structures of group association thatconsciousness-raising takes place. The role of group involvement or53mediating structures emerges when shared social conditions, and therealization of the existence of these conditions, contribute to asocial consciousness sufficient to instill social action.Social consciousness is premised on self-awareness, and the abilityto objectify or externally appraise one's social conditions,allowing for the evaluation and interpretation of the present inlight of the past. Achieving the goal of reversing powerlessness,helplessness, alienation, and a loss of sense of control over onelife, requires consciousness-raising on the part of the three majorinfluences on community planning: citizens, planning organizations,and planners. To develop a sense of control over their lives,citizens and communities need to be conscious of the sources oftheir own powerlessness, alienation, and helplessness, for theseare reflections of self; a state of mind.FEMINISM AND CONSCIOUSNESS-RAISINGThe feminist movement provides an example of individuals who havecollectively developed a process of empowerment through a socialmovement or mediating structure. The essence of the feministconsciousness is based on the credo "the personal is political",meaning that one cannot divorce personal change issues from changein social structures. Butterwick puts this concept intohistorical context by adding,54"Women began to realize that what they viewed asindividual problems are actually shared, and are thesymptoms of society-wide structures of power andpowerlessness, rather than personal deficiencies."(1987,P. 6)Consciousness-raising groups stress the individual's awareness aspart of a social category (women), which has shared characteristics(e.g. oppression at the hands of a dominant social group, men). Byidentifying and understanding the underlying causes of theiroppression (e.g. paternalistic societal value systems and powerstructures) individual women can begin experiencing the liberatingemotional effects of consciousness raising.As Riger points out,"grassroots organizations that enable people to obtainaccess to resources and develop skill and self-esteem canbe important vehicles for empowerment. The contemporaryfeminist movement has been particularly successful increating such organizations."(1984, p. 99)While this process may not physically liberate women from theirreal and ongoing oppression, it provides a vehicle forpsychological empowerment, and the motivation and encouragement tosustain a politically motivated base of empowered women (andsympathetic men) to actively work for social change. In additionto the initial consciousness-raising which can occur from sociallearning with others, citizens can become empowered further throughcommunity-action, which individuals can channel through these moreformalized organizations.55Consciousness-raising for men can also help in dealing with theissue of control in community organizing, planning andadministrative roles. Brandwein argues that, "learning to let go,to share power and decision-making, and to realize that one cannotunilaterally determine outcomes will enhance men's effectiveness inthese roles."(1981, p. 187)Expanding on the concept of role differentiation between men andwomen, Brandwein introduces the notion of androgyny, which impliesthat what are traditionally ascribed as male or female attributesare really human attributes. The implication for the planningprofession is that not only should women be freed to assumeperceived masculine traits of being logical, assertive, and direct,but that men should, inversely, be freed to be sensitive,nurturant, and caring (1981).EMPOWERMENT AND GROUPSThe feminist movement example illustrates that the ability toovercome powerlessness, alienation, and helplessness can bedirectly attributed to feeling part of a larger group or segment ofsociety - ie. mediating structure - which uses its collectivecapacities to become empowered through social change. Forinstance, empowerment can occur when individuals feel part of thelarger fabric of their neighbourhood and community, even in ageneralized context.56Benello, in his examination of group decision making, points outthat,"(e)ffective group decision making arises as people cometo know that the group is capable of significantlyenriching their lives, both through the solidarity thatit provides and through the performance of tasks that areimportant to its members."(1971, P. 44)This is reinforced by Guthrie's contention that "whether the lackof power is real or perceived, the feeling of powerlessness andalienation needs to be recognized. People who feel powerless arepowerless unless something happens to show them otherwise."(1978,P. 169) Both new found social status and the collectiveempowerment of group involvement can help citizens recognize achange from a state of powerlessness. Status, perceived throughgroup involvement, is very much an informal source of personalpower.Stokes contends that the process of empowerment can occur fromcollective action."In any society, political and economic power gravitatesto those who solve problems. Over the last few decades,bureaucrats, businessmen and professionals have accruedpower by assuming ever greater responsibility forproblem solving. As people take a more active role insolving their problems through self-help efforts, theycan begin to take some of that power back into their ownhands...no longer powerless, they can begin to createsocieties that are truly democratic."(1981, p. 19)57This is supported by Head who asserts that,"Citizen groups may begin the task of relating theindividual to his society through community action.(Consequently) he is beginning to break through theimpersonal bureaucracy of big business, big government,big educational systems, big health bureaucracies andother structures that dominate his life at everylevel."(1971, p. 27)The synergistic paradigm, presented earlier, effectivelysynthesizes the relationship between empowerment and the neededdimension of consciousness raising. It postulates, that thesynergistic community is established by "rituals of transformation"- events or moments where participants experience a transformationof consciousness."This transformation seems to bring on a (new) way ofexperiencing self as embedded in and expressive ofcommunity. By establishing a transpersonal bondingbetween people so that individuals realize and activatecommunal commitments, these rituals can activateexpanding and renewable resources. New solutions toproblems become possible; or old problems are seen in anew way and cease to be problems...It can be argued thatsuch transpersonal connectedness, and the sharing ofresources which accompanies it, are essential to thesurvival of the human species."(Katz, 1984, p. 208)CONSCIENTIZATIONConscientization is a community development method and perspectivepopularized and prescribed by Paolo Freire, developed through hisinvolvement in adult education and literacy programs with ruralpoor.58His work reflects a phenomenological view of consciousness, whereknowing is no longer directed by what others say, but is thedeliberate decision by the oppressed or powerless. Authenticknowledge is when an individual becomes the subject of their worldrather than the object.For Freire, empowerment results when actors reflect upon theiractions by applying theory, termed praxis."(one's) activity consists of action and reflection: itis praxis; it is transformation of the world. And aspraxis, it requires theory to illuminate it. (one's)activity is theory and practice; it is reflection andaction."(1976, p. 171)There are several major themes central to this ideology. Those whoare working with the powerless must first recognize the criticalneed of the powerless to develop this understanding of praxis, andthe hypocracy of not doing so."The leaders cannot treat the oppressed as mere activiststo be denied the opportunity of reflection and allowedmerely the illusion of acting, whereas in fact they wouldcontinue to be manipulated - and in this case by thepresumed foes of manipulation...The leaders do bear theresponsibility for co-ordination - and at times direction- but leaders who deny praxis to the oppressed therebyinvalidate their own praxis."(Freire, 1976, p.172)Freire adds that,"(i)t is absolutely essential that the oppressedparticipate in the revolutionary process with anincreasingly critical awareness of their role as Subjectsof the transformation."(1976, p. 172)This is the essence of Freire's conscientization.59In this relationship, planners would be considered co-ordinators ofthe learning or critical awareness of the powerless. Dialoguebetween coordinators and learners, another major theme, is thefoundation of authentic education, "the encounter between menmediated by the world, in order to name the world" (Freire, 1970, p.76). True dialogue between coordinators and learners can only takeplace in an atmosphere of love, hope and mutual trust. Thisatmosphere can only be developed from a relationship based onworking with, rather than working for, the people. "(Coordinators)have no right to steer people blindly toward their salvation"(Freire, 1973, p. 167).Conscientization views the role of the coordinator as fundamentalto the success of programmes. However, coordinators must work withthe learner, rather than for them, sometimes requiring classsuicide from coordinators who are from the middle class orintellectual elite. If co-ordinators fail to do so they "decreethe ignorance of someone else". In this context, those making thisdecree define themselves and their class as those who know or wereborn to know, categorizing their words as "true words", which arethen imposed on the learner."Those who steal the words of others develop a deep doubtin the abilities of the others and consider themincompetent. Each time they say their word withouthearing the word of those whom they have forbidden tospeak, they grow more accustomed to power and acquire ataste for guiding, ordering and commanding."(Freire,1976, p. 174)60PLANNERS AND CONSCIOUSNESS-RAISINGForester argues "if planners understand how relations of powershape the planning process, they can improve the quality of theiranalysis and empower citizen and community action."(1989, p. 27).He concludes that "planners must assess encompassing powerstructures and recognize how their own actions can work to eitherdiscourage or to encourage citizen organizing."(1989, p. 154)Forester also supports the notion presented earlier thatorganizations within traditional planning models reproduce socio-political relations that ignore ways to socialize and democratize.He also argues that THE traditional model discourages widespreadparticipation and representation which might reveal thecontradictions between private accumulation and public needs, anddeters cooperative, well-organized, community-based organizationsthat might press to meet social needs to the detriment ofconcentrations of private capital. He concludes that this modelacts to distract public attention from social needs, insteadfocusing on the promotion of individual consumption.Once planners are conscious of how their organizations rendercitizens powerless, the planner can begin to respond by playing aneducative and organizing role, aiding the citizen's political andcommunity organizing toward democratic control of resources.61The planner can also encourage the community's local autonomy andthe protection of social networks as countervailing influences toprofessional power, while broadening the content of alternativespresented to affected citizens. Forester concludes that,"(b)y learning how the public welfare is threatened, howthe powerless are kept powerless, and how the poor arekept poor, planners can also learn how to counteractthese conditions: to organize, politicize, and empowercitizens"(1989, p. 81)Part of the process of consciousness-raising for planners involvesunderstanding the organizational environment they work within, andthe existing power dynamics. The effect of these conscious actionsby "enlightened" planners may be to resist social relations ofknowledge that might otherwise leave citizens practically ignorant.These actions may also mitigate the dependency and helplessnessthat organizations traditionally create, both for client andworkers, within the scarcity paradigm. Ultimately, Foresterbelieves this will focus public attention on actions that directlyaddress the needs of the poor, the underserved, and the powerless.Implicit in Forester's argument is the concept that planners, andother change agents, should critically evaluate the policies of theorganizations they work for, and if these policies do not addressissues of powerlessness then the planner is socially and ethicallyobligated to "change the system from within".62This position reflects the notion that planners have varyingdegrees of power and influence in the development and applicationof organizational policies, reinforcing the significantcontribution planners can make towards citizen, community, andtheir own empowerment.As Reisch, Wenocur and Sherman (1981) argue, "as workers becomemore empowered, empowerment itself sets off a cycle of positivereinforcement." This can be seen as a process of recursion, whereempowerment permeates from one strata of the system to another.From the feminist perspective, Reisch, Wencour and Sherman assertthat this process can be enhanced by the formation of mutualsupport groups, whose activities would initially revolve around thefollowing goals:helping members perceive themselves as causal agents inachieving solutions to their problems;helping each other to identify the knowledge, skills andresources each member brings and which can be drawn on forsupport;helping members to see each other as sharing theresponsibility for the problem-solving efforts of the group;helping each other examine the dynamics of the disempowermentprocesses going on in the agency and developing avenues forfunctional non- capitulation;helping each other understand the organization as apolitical-economic entity with shifting or multiple coalitionsin power and, therefore, not monolithic, but open toinfluence.63On a more personal level for planners, Pinderhughes (1983), in arelevant analysis from the social work field, concludes that forsocial workers (and planners) to avoid the traditional benefactorrole they must identify the significant experiences that havecaused themselves to internalize feelings of power andpowerlessness. This consciousness raising and self-awarenessenables the social worker to share their realized knowledge, andown professional power with clients, in a process of adult learningand education.Understanding that conditions of powerlessness exist and areinstitutionalized through traditional planning practices can be aconsciousness raising experience for planners and communityworkers, and the agencies they represent.So, while organizing at the community level for the powerless,apathetic and helpless, requires an advocacy ethic, consciousnessraising programs must explicitly emphasize self-help through thetraining of indigenous leaders from within the community. Once asense of alienation from the community is overcome, empoweredindividuals can be encouraged to share their consciousness raisingexperiences, as a further empowering exercise of shared or adultlearning.64As Russell-Erlich and Rivera point out, "Community organizationmust always see its role as a temporary one. As it works towardsthe empowerment of people, it is also working towards reducing theprofessional presence in the community by training indigenousleadership from the earliest possible time."(1986, p. 460)Russell-Erlich and Rivera contend that empowerment and communityorganizing should work toward reducing professional presence in thecommunity by training indigenous leadership from the outset of theintervention. From an empowerment perspective, if citizens are notacting like leaders then planners may not be doing their job, orthey may be operating within the scarcity paradigm. Their role isparadoxical in that they are expected to empower the community, andinstill confidence in citizen's ability to lead themselves, whicheventually sees the planner/community organizer in this situationas redundant.For planners to be effective in this role they must, themselves, gothrough a personal process of raised consciousness orenlightenment. This will enable them to more fully understand theinstitutional, professional and societal barriers to both theirown, as well as their client's empowerment; barriers inherent inthe paternalistic culture within which they interact.Anderson and Boothroyd elaborate on this point by adding that "agoal of corporate planning is to make decision-making as programmed65as possible; the equivalent goal of social planning is to loosen updecision-making, to make it democratic, to allow for change."(1983,p. 3)ROLE OF THE AGENCYPlanning agencies can play a significant part in the consciousnessraising of individual citizens through the legitimization ofcitizen participation in local planning. The deliberateestablishment by local government of community-based organizationsin all neighbourhoods can provide a nuclei for empowering citizens,in terms of both physical setting and psychological presence.However, the success of any such process depends on both the agencyformally recognizing that systemic barriers to empowerment exist,as well as the understanding on the part of the planners directlyinvolved with the community, of the dynamics of empowerment and therole they play in this process. In other words, an organizationalconsciousness raising must accompany that of the planners itemploys.SUMMARYEmpowering others demands that planners recognize the criticalimportance of developing their own consciousness around societaland institutional forces that effectively inhibit others ability to66control their world. This implies that planners develop their ownpraxis or theoretical context for action.Empowerment theory dictates that planners not speak for thepowerless, but rather focus on the development of the learner'stheoretical basis for action; developing the learner's praxis.Marrying the two concepts of feminism and conscientization, thispraxis can be developed through consciousness-raising achievedthrough groups.The co-ordinator or planner must also work with groups to developawareness around resources available from political andbureaucratic institutions, as well as work to ensure continuedsupport within these institutions. The latter support may resultfrom planners facilitating the consciousness raising of otherswithin these bureaucracies.67CHAPTER IVEMPOWERMENT, PARTICIPATION, AND DEMOCRACYINTRODUCTIONThis chapter examines various theories of democracy and citizenparticipation to assess the possibility and implication ofempowerment-based planning within these democratic models.Understanding and expanding upon these arguments will helpconceptualize the reciprocal relationship between participation andempowerment. From a planning perspective, having a fuller grasp ofthe empowering properties of citizen participation necessitatesunderstanding the import of citizen participation within democratictheories.DEMOCRACY AND PARTICIPATIONFagence (1978) and Rosenbaum (1978), among others, contend thatdemocratic theory is generally based on two values: politicalequality and popular sovereignty . Citizen participation is derivedfrom both of these values. Political equality is based upon theprinciple of the equal right of every citizen to participate in the68process of government through direct decision making or influenceon decision makers. In contemporary democracies this is achievedthrough an elected representative government. The notion ofpopular sovereignty posits that such government be responsive to asmany citizens as possible. Most approaches to definingparticipation within democratic theory postulate two generalizedtraditions: classical or participatory, and polyarchy or elitisttheory.CLASSICAL DEMOCRATIC THEORYClassical or participatory democracy is a normative or prescriptivetheory, based on what could or should be possible throughhumanity's good, and innately cooperative, nature. The broadspectrum of this theory spans the golden age of Greece, emergingfrom direct democracy practices of the "Athenian experiment" - withits central principle of the equal right or every citizen toparticipate in the process of government - to the eighteenth andnineteenth century philosophies of J.J. Rousseau and John StuartMill, with more contemporary perspectives provided byparticipatory democrats like Alan Altschuler and Milton Kotler.Rousseau, possibly the theorist par excellence of participation andparticipatory democracy, hinges his entire political theory on thevalue of individual participation of each citizen in political69decision making. He equates the absence of democracy with theunnatural servitude of slavery, eloquently summarized as follows:"Every (person) born in slavery is born for slavery;nothing is more certain. Slaves lose everything in theirbonds, even the desire to escape from them;...If, then,there are slaves by nature, it is because there have beenslaves contrary to nature. The first slaves were made bysuch force; their cowardice kept them in bondage."(1895,p. 17)Rousseau saw citizen participation as providing a form ofcountervailing power to special interest groups and bureaucrats.Yet, from a healthy community perspective, he viewed participationas being much more than this countervailing power: it has apsychological effect on the participants. Pateman interprets thisas "ensuring that there is a continuing interrelationship betweenthe working of institutions and the psychological qualities andattitudes of individuals interacting with them."(1980, p. 22), aview supported by Zimmerman and Rappaport (1988).The central function of participation for Rousseau is education, asindividuals learn that they have to take into account mattersbeyond immediate self/private interests to gain cooperation fromothers. "...for, in the first place, since each gives himself upentirely, the conditions are equal for all; and, the conditionsbeing equal for all, no one has any interest in making themburdensome to others."(1895, p. 27)70As a result of participation, individuals may also learn that thepublic and private interests are linked. Once this realizationtakes place they learn to be public as well as private citizens.This realization can be seen as another form of "consciousnessraising". For planners, this aspect of participation could beincorporated as a non-coercive mechanism for addressing issues likeNIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). In other words, the more involvedcitizens are in their community and exposed to the diversity ofinterests and opinions present within their community, the moretolerant they will be of change.THE PARADOX OF PARTICIPATIONIn his landmark essay on empowerment Rappaport (1981) argued thatthe most important aspects of community life are by their verynature paradoxical, particularly human social systems. A paradoxis defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (p. 450) as: 1) aseemingly absurd but possibly true statement. 2) something selfcontradictory. Basic to this idea is the notion of antinomy, "acontradiction in law, or between two equally binding laws" (OxfordEnglish Dictionary, 1971, p. 371)It is proposed here that the paradox inherent in citizenparticipation is that to more effectively implement localizedstrategies that serve the interests of the larger community,71individual citizens should be afforded greater opportunities toparticipate in community decision making, which makes this also anantinomy. Traditional planning initiatives, developed within apaternalistic culture, provide only token opportunities forcitizens to participate. These initiatives perpetuatepowerlessness, and, in essence, only serve the interests of thosealready in positions of power. This traditional model forcescitizens to react with hostility, since this is often their rareopportunity to be heard. The powerful can point to this hostilityand resistance as examples of why participation only results inNIMBYism, and does not serve the "public interest".The paradox is that as western culture moves away from thepaternalistic/scarcity model to one that is more synergistic, theemphasis on planning "processes" rather than "products" willempower citizens and result in greater consensus on publicinitiatives. This consensus emanates from the greater sense ofcommunity which evolves from empowered individuals.Another example of antinomy in relation to democracy is freedom andequality. If one is maximized the other is necessarily minimized.Total freedom allows the strong to dominate the weak, eliminatingequality. Equality requires constraints on freedom, whichnecessarily imposes limits on certain individuals. A role plannerscan play in empowering communities can be to facilitate planningprocesses that strive for consensus, rather than the traditional72planning consequence of the majority rule. This role can maintainbalance within the community between the citizen's freedom toparticipate and equality for those in the minority.Rousseau connected the notion of individual citizen's control withthe concept of participation, through his notion of freedom.Actual, as well as a sense of freedom increase throughparticipation in decision making as it gives the citizen a veryreal degree of control over the course of their life and thestructure of their environment.Participation increases the value of freedom by enabling theindividual to be (and remain) one's own master. In this context,the participatory process also acts to ensure that no individual orgroup is master or subordinate to another, as all are equallydependent on each other, and equally subject to laws/decisions allhave participated in creating. These laws and decisions will bemore easily accepted by individuals if those decisions are arrivedat through consensus -based participatory decision-making processes.When conflict arises between the majority decisions of the groupand an individual member, the member may begin to question thecontinued relevance of the group. Yet, as long as the groupfulfils the member's needs - e.g. sustaining a locus of control -it is possible for a member to take the longer view.73In such instances of divergence between the group's decision andthe individuals wishes, the member maintains a belief in thegroup's continuing capacity to respond to their own needs.Benello supports this notion of the individual's learned trust ingroup processes, by adding,"Out of this (belief) the possibility of consensusarises, not because every member is at all times alignedwith the majority decision, but because every member isaware of his continuing impact on the group, and is thuscapable of accepting occasional decisions in oppositionto his own views."(1971, p. 45; parentheses added)A significant point is that once the participatory system isestablished it becomes self-sustaining. The very qualitiesrequired of individual citizens to make the system worksuccessfully are those that the process of participation itselfdevelops and fosters. The more the individual citizen participatesthe greater the opportunities to develop their participatorycompetence. This should particularly result if this participationis nurtured and supported by community-based organizations whichprovide graduating levels of responsibility for citizens. Thisability, manifest as improved self-esteem and perceived competence,is also a product of personal and political efficacy (locus ofcontrol).As argued earlier, the positive cycle of improved self-esteem andincreased political efficacy has the integrative function of74increasing one's sense of community. Empowering the individual andthe community becomes a reciprocal relationship, where theindividual is empowered through opportunities to participate orconnect with others in the community, participation which can beprovided and nurtured through community-based organizations. Agreater sense of community can emerge for individuals who areencouraged to interact or participate with others in the communityand share decision making.The basic premise of participatory theorists can be summarized asan interrelationship and connection between individuals - theirqualities, actions and psychological characteristics - and types ofsocietal institutions. Effective social and political actiondepends largely on the sort of institutions within which theindividual has to act. This assumes that over time citizens willbecome increasingly rational, better informed, more willing toparticipate, and will develop greater tolerance to defer decisionsto the majority.However, two points must be made here. First, this tolerance mustemanate from actual experiences demonstrating that majoritydecisions continue to reflect the principle of equity. A decisionreached by the majority which reflects a bias against one group,particularly a group to which the individual was a member, may notbe accepted or tolerated. The second point is that a dramaticparadigm shift away from the traditional/paternalistic model must75occur before the type of empowering social environment exists wherethis level of tolerance can be developed.ELITIST THEORYTheorists like Robert Dahl and Joseph Schumpeter attempt to refutemost of the 'classical' assumptions of democracy, through a mixtureof normative and empirical theory, derived as a composite ofvarious studies. For example, much of this theory is based onanalyzed voting and participation patterns, with the conclusionthat community influence is, by nature, inherently elitist,reflected in a hierarchy of power resembling a pyramid.They assert that, in terms of countervailing powers, governmentofficials can be made to exercise their powers more beneficiallyand responsibly through the public's involvement in periodicelections, at which time the citizenry can hold them accountablefor their behaviour. It is only through elections that the conceptof individual control, central to all democratic theories, ispresent within elitist theory. For example, during terms of officeleaders must be cognizant of the needs and wishes of constituents,with the greatest degree of influence or control exerted byconstituents during elections, as leaders compete for votes.76Elections are pivotal to the elitist democratic method, providingthe mechanism through which the control of leaders by non - leaderscan take place. Dahl views elections as the citizen's opportunityto control factions of powerful elites and avoid "tyranny". Headds,"(i)n a modern theory of democracy 'political equality'refers to the existence of universal suffrage (oneperson, one vote) with its sanction through the electoralcompetition for votes and, more importantly, to the factof equality of opportunity of access to influence overdecision makers through inter-electoral processes bywhich different groups in the electorate make theirdemands heard."(1956, p. 56; parentheses added)Elitists also point out that empirical data confirms that themajority do not participate as fully as possible. This is seen asa reflection of the efficiency and success of the system.One of the main arguments of this ideology is the destructivepotential of full participation proposed by classical theorists,for if all citizens were to demand equal access to decision makingnothing would get done. The very stability of the system isdependant upon minimal participation."Non participation is not an indictment of the system buta testimony to its success in satisfying the interests ofits polity. And far from being a threat to the system, itis a benefit since the lack of participation shields thepolitical system from unreasonable and overwhelmingdemands and gives the political elite the necessarymaneuvering room to govern effectively." (Kweit and Kweit,1981, p. 21)77Two further assumptions put forth to justify this theory are thata participatory system of decision making fragments political powerto the point that government becomes incapable of dealing quicklyand comprehensively with the many problems government must face.The second insists that the consolidation of power is necessarysince the great majority of citizens are incapable of rational,competent political decisions.THE REBUTTAL TO ELITIST THEORYElitist theory is countered by contemporary participatory theoristssuch as Benello and Roussopoulis, who contend that bottom upparticipation - starting with close inter-personal relations, thenneighbourhood institutions and institutions of work - establishesthe basis for effective political participation. "When men areconditioned to be passive by repressive social institutions, theelitists' fear of general political participation is probablyjustified." Elitist planning perpetuates a kind of "pluralism ofthe powerful", which fails to recognize that "those who are notorganized and who lack access to wealth and power have no voice inthe pluralist cacophony, and it is precisely these constituenciesthat most need to be heard."(1971, p. 77)78Returning to Freire,"Those who steal the words of others develop a deep doubt in theabilities of the others and consider them incompetent. Each timethey say their word without hearing the word of those whom theyhave forbidden to speak, they grow more accustomed to power andacquire a taste for guiding, ordering, and commanding."(1976, p.173)By systemically excluding the unorganized in society, a stratifiedor class structure is created, one that works to further alienateand disempower large segments of the population.Fagence replies to elitism by adding that, "the primary concern ofelitist theory is to maintain political stability by promotingprocesses and structures for decision-making more accommodating toefficiency than to popular equality in participation."(1977, p. 22)PLANNING AND PARTICIPATIONPlanning agencies need to develop more participatory processeswhich consciously and explicitly recognize the importance ofempowerment for the development of individual citizens and com-munities. Traditionally, citizen participation initiatives at alllevels of government have served the interests of the upper classin an attempt to maintain status quo power relationships (Scaff,1975; Serrano-Garcia, 1984; Russell-Erlich and Rivera, 1986).79Citizen participation in the present, elitist, form of democracy,is manipulated to support the interests of the elite,"function(ing) to provide legitimacy for elite decisions and hencefor the system in which decisions are made."(Scaff, 1975) Policiesemerging from elitist systems act to preserve the economic andsocial power-base of these groups by implicitly recognizingproperty rights over citizen's rights.Within the traditional/corporate/paternalistic/elitist planningparadigm, the powerless are systematically excluded fromparticipating from decision making, since the planning processoften acknowledges only existing power groups, such as Chambers ofCommerce and "ratepayers" associations, when calls for publicparticipation are made (Kweit and Kweit, 1981). This approach isalso structured so that groups are forced to compete forinstitutional recognition and legitimacy, as well as funding, oftenresulting in resources being directed to groups adept at organizedlobbying, at the expense of others, less sophisticated at "playing"by the rules of this particular "game".Despite attempts to enshrine or mandate participation in planningefforts such as the "war on poverty" or in response to "urbanrenewal" (Head 1971), there is little evidence that the powerlessin society - eg., the individual poor, new immigrants - alone canplan, operationalize and conduct major efforts directed at majorstructural changes in modern society.80In other words, empowerment cannot take place without theinvolvement of the mediating structures in society (churches,schools, community-based organizations) and the support anddeliberate actions of societal institutions (planning departments,human service agencies).While citizens groups regularly empower their members independentlyof these institutions (e.g. the feminist movement), many powerlessmembers of our pluralistic and diverse society are inequitablyrepresented by any such "organic" or "grass-roots" associations.Bridging this gap in equity requires the establishment by planningagencies of both procedural policies (e.g., involvingcitizens/clients in planning processes and decision making) andsubstantive actions (e.g., financial support for establishingcommunity-based outreach programs).Benello and Roussopoulos contend that, "(n)ew, participatoryinstitutions must be built in all social spheres and, as theydevelop, will claim legitimacy and recognition as being genuinelydemocratic and accountable to their constituencies."(1971, p. 6)Planning agencies can contribute to the establishment and on-goingwork of such institutions through locally-based planninginitiatives which recognize the truly empowering qualities ofinformed and valued citizen participation. This approach is areversal of traditional planning in western cultures, which Walker81characterizes as patronizing, elitist and remote from theexperience of ordinary citizens. "Most commonly," he adds"(traditional) planning is conducted by administrators consultingand bargaining with each other in complete secrecy, with only theresults of this process being published."(1983, p. 72) In thisform of planning, citizen participation is most often allowed onlywhen mandated, is seen only as a means to achieving goals, ratherthan as a goal.Anderson and Boothroyd (1983) classify this as corporate planning(participation is a means to corporate ends), as distinguished fromsocial planning (citizen participation is an end itself). Swift(1984) makes a similar distinction from a human serviceperspective, with the empowerment model of social policy andservice delivery as a substitute for the paternalistic model whichhas dominated the traditional welfare state. Swift adds that inthe paternalistic model, "the process has been to seek "expert"opinion with an infusion of funds administered by a bureaucracy ofexperts, and to wonder at the resistance of indigenous populationsto our efforts to improve their lives."(1984, p. 16)The empowerment or "synergistic" model requires the consciousacknowledgement by government and planning agencies that currentprocesses are undemocratic, biased against the powerless, and thatthese biases act as organizational barriers to empowerment. In atrue democracy, not only should citizen participation be a social82goal, citizenship in itself should legitimize the right toself-determination and participation in planning processes.Changing this model should begin with the planning field developingan explicit theory of empowerment-based planning. How can plannersin the field be expected to begin to change the system, either fromoutside or within, if there is no theoretical foundation on whichto reflect?"The concept of democracy" Swift reinforces, "and its embodiment inour political institutions is based on the principle of empoweringcitizens to participate in decisions affecting theirwelfare."(1984, p. 18).SUMMARYPrevious chapters have established that citizen involvement incommunity planning initiatives can be seen as a vital component ofthe psychological process of empowerment. A significant dimensionof empowerment emerges from an individual's connectedness withothers and the community as a whole, developed, in large part,through cooperative participation. Citizen participation is alsoa central tenet of democratic theory. However, planning hastraditionally operated in a paternalistic culture, within theelitist model of democracy.83Planning for healthy communities requires the application ofstrategies which incorporate processes more aligned withparticipatory democracy. As Swift points out, "empowerment insistson the primacy of the target population's participation in anyintervention affecting its welfare. It is the antithesis ofpaternalism."(1984, p. xiv) The notion of representative democracyor "governance" by an elected body, the dominant political processin contemporary society, is the very embodiment of paternalism.If the planning field is to play an active role in the paradigmshift necessary for an empowerment-based planning model, then atheoretical foundation for such action must include a criticalanalysis of the democratic culture within which we traditionallyoperate. While citizen participation is purportedly central to alltheories of democracy, the planning field must address thefundamental contradiction that sees the perpetuation ofpowerlessness in a so-called democratic society. The planningfield must more critically evaluate its role within democraticsociety, particularly in the context of planning for healthycommunities.84CHAPTER VCASE STUDY: THE COLLINGWOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE (CNH)"The Neighbourhood Houseis the best thing in the world."Jamie Olsen,Collingwood resident, age 8INTRODUCTIONAs Chapter I pointed out, the objective of this case study is toaddress two questions: do traditional public participationstrategies, usually facilitated by planners, serve to empowercitizens and communities?; and, what mechanisms can planners employto empower others and provide more effective communityparticipation?The information for this study was gathered through a literaturereview of historical and policy documents of both the City ofVancouver and the CNH, interviews with planners, CNH staff,community organizers, and local residents. As stated earlier, theresearch is supplemented by the observations and experiences ofthis author, based on the following: resident of Collingwood (1981-82); research on the socio-economic impact of Skytrain on theCollingwood community (Ahern and Rachwalski, 1983); and, board85member, volunteer and paid staff of the CNH (1987-92). Due to thedirect involvement and experiences of this author, a "second-person" narrative will be used.The study is presented in three parts: a historical review of theboth the Collingwood community, and the development of the CNH,including a discussion of the philosophy and practices of theorganization; an analysis of the organization in terms of theempowerment model; and, a review of the role the City of Vancouverplayed in the development of the CNH.THE COMMUNITYThe Collingwood community is situated on the eastern fringe of thecity of Vancouver British Columbia, bounded by 29th Avenue to thenorth, Kingsway to the south, Boundary Road to the east and RupertStreet to the west. Collingwood is one of the original,non-native, communities in Vancouver, with settlement dating backto the early 1800's. Today, it is a predominantly blue-collarcommunity, mostly single-family housing, with many young families.For much of its history, Collingwood has been a relatively stablecommunity, with a mix of family types and ethnic groups, as well ascommercial, retail and light industrial land uses. However, sincethe early 1970's this community has undergone dramatic changes,86brought on by factors such as significant increases in ethnic andsingle-parent families, economic instability of the retailindustry, and the introduction of the Advanced Light Rapid Transitsystem (known as Skytrain).SKYTRAINIn 1980, the Greater Vancouver Regional District, B.C. Transit (theprovincial transportation agency) and the City of Vancouverannounced that the Skytrain system would use the existing B.C.Hydro rail right-of-way corridor as its route connecting the citiesof Vancouver and New Westminster. Collingwood is situated alongthis corridor, approximately half-way between these two cities, andbecause of its central location and the presence of an existingB.C. Transit bus loop, was selected as the site for one of 15Phase-I Skytrain stations.HISTORY OF COMMUNITY ACTIONIn the early 1970's, the City Planning Department presented tolocal residents a City-initiated plan for integrating social-housing projects into several neighbourhoods,^includingCollingwood. Considerable opposition developed to the plan, basedprimarily on concerns about property values, and the proximity of87the proposed site to schools'. A very traditional planning processwas used, which included informing the community of the City'sintentions through advertisement in the local newspaper and flyerscirculated to residents, followed by a series of open-houses whichdisplayed the proposal using site plans and scale models. Theseopen houses became the backdrop for the required public hearingprocess for the rezoning, the City's ultimate focus.Citing a lack of neighbourhood support and the need for furtherreview of the whole housing strategy, the City withdrew thisparticular housing proposal 2 . Nonetheless, over the next severalyears City staff maintained contact with a number of more activeand vociferous residents, using these residents as an ad hocadvisory group when the City needed to organize communityparticipation around other public hearings, and solicit feedback onnew City initiatives. These residents became the focus of theCity's initial efforts to introduce the concept of the Skytrainstation to the neighbourhood in 1982. (The Skytrain process isdiscussed later).In 1984, primarily in response to the anticipated impact of theSkytrain development, local activists, some of whom were part ofthe original advisory group, requested and obtained a federal1 Interview with Chris Taalu, 1992.2 Interview with Pat Wotherspoon, 1992.88Canada Works grant. This grant was used to fund the KingswayCommunity Development Project, a research initiative undertaken bytwo community development workers, which produced the report"Outline of Community Resources: Listings and Analysis" (Murphy andWoodsworth, 1984).The goals of this community development initiative were identifiedas:to create a resource list of organizations and services inthe immediate community;to provide a profile of the community;to create a resource for local groups which would enable themto function more effectively, both among themselves and intheir relations with outside bodies and different levels ofgovernment;to identify unmet needs;to assist in the process of community development and socialplanning (Murphy and Woodsworth, 1984, p. 1).The project's findings revealed the following about the Collingwoodcommunity:Historically the area has lacked strong community-basedorganizations, making responding constructively to communitychanges problematic;The neighbourhoods within the area lack a tradition of workingtogether for problem-solving, since the overall community doesnot have the organizational ability to respond to changeseffectively and creatively;There is little social cohesiveness within the community as awhole, making it easier for the established or better offsections of the community to ignore the legitimate concerns ofthose with unmet needs, and;There is a need for an umbrella community organization whichwould act both as an advocacy body and as a mechanism forcommunity planning in the area (Murphy and Woodsworth, 1984)89The Project's findings illustrated the need for a centralorganization that could provide a number of functions and servicesto meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population,particularly for a community in transition like Collingwood. Thereport identified the "neighbourhood house" as an appropriate modelto use.THE COLLINGWOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE (CNH)THE NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE MODELThe neighbourhood house tradition in Greater Vancouver goes backover fifty years, and involves locally-based agencies offeringprograms and services geared specifically towards improving thequality of neighbourhood and family life. Their mandates have beento serve the specific needs of the immediate community. Prior tothe establishment of the CNH, there were 7 neighbourhood houses inthe City of Vancouver, and one in the City of North Vancouver.THE CNHThe CNH is a registered non-profit society, incorporated in 1985.It was initially sponsored on a temporary basis through a patchworkof temporary funding sources, including grants from the City ofVancouver Social Planning Department, the United Way of GreaterVancouver, and the Federal Government.90The original Board of Directors consisted primarily of long-timelocal residents and community activists, and representatives oflocal schools and businesses. Included on the initial Board wereseveral members of the ad hoc advisory group and the authors of theKingsway Community Development research project. Based on theexperiences of other neighbourhood houses and other community-basedorganizations, input from City planners, and the findings of thecommunity development report, the board identified the importanceof creating an inward-looking organization, with a goal ofreflecting the community and its citizens needs, rather one basedon a predetermined service model. The CNH was also founded on thepremise that leadership and control of the organization should bemaintained within the community.This approach demonstrates characteristics Macmillan (1991) viewsas necessary for successful community development. These includecommunity members organizing themselves and participating fully inthe organizations they create, while limiting the role of outsidersto the provision of needed funds, and technical expertise, such asfund raising, facilitating strategic planning sessions, anddrafting of the Society's constitution and bylaws. The CNH modelalso has the important characteristic of community members, andparticularly significant, program consumers sharing responsibilityfor identifying problems and needs, and designing solutions.91The basic structure of the organization also reflects theempowerment model proposed by Zimmerman and Rappaport (1988), whoconcluded that not only does the specific cultural context matter,locally developed solutions are more empowering than singlesolutions applied in a general way. Restricting the focus of theCNH to an area with less than 8,000 people (CNH, Annual Report,1989) allowed for a setting which was small enough to providemeaningful roles for all members, yet large enough to obtainresources, an environment more likely to create conditions thatlead to empowerment.CNH POLICIESAn original goal of the CNH was to actively include local residentsin all aspects of the organization, from coordination of the dailyactivities, programs and administration, to setting policies andprocedures, and developing strategic plans which guide the overalldirection of the organization (CNH Annual report, 1989). Toachieve this goal, CNH hiring and recruitment policies reflect theprinciple of including within the organization, individuals fromthe community that represent Collingwood's diversity. Thisincludes conscious efforts to recruit and select staff, Board ofDirectors and Committee members that represent the community's manycultural, ethnic, age and socio-economic groups.92Recognizing that Collingwood residents with the greatest need forCNH resources could be categorized as traditionally disenfranchised(e.g. the poor, new immigrants, single parents), the CNH developedan organizational structure that provides opportunities forcitizens to become involved in the organization at progressivelygreater levels of involvement. For instance, the organizationdeveloped a highly integrated decision-making process based on acommittee and sub-committee structure. Individuals recruited formembership on advisory or subcommittees of the Board are oftenconsumers of CNH services.However, before they are asked to participate in committees,citizens are supported through a volunteer development program thatallows them to develop skills and confidence in working within theorganization. The goals driving this approach include: personaldevelopment for the individual through improved self esteem;organizational development for the CNH through more effectiveservice delivery, and increased use of those services by consumers;and, community development through the collective identification ofneeds and resolution of problems, the tolerance and awareness ofothers needs this supported, and the increased sense of communitythis process nurtured 3 .3 Interview with Paula Carr, 1992.93Other CNH policies and procedures explicitly intended to empowerthe community include: involving local citizens in its annualstrategic planning exercises; providing easy access to informationon CNH, and government services, in languages other than English,such as Cantonese, Hindi, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish,and Vietnamese; promotion of culturally specific, andmulti-cultural events; consciousness raising around issues such asspousal abuse, and minority rights; and advocacy 4 .The basic philosophy of the CNH is summarized in its brochure,"Collingwood Neighbourhood House: Realizing a Community Vision",which lists its "Distinctive Collingwood Approach" as follows:a community that works together.- a community that sets and achieves goals.- people who live in Collingwood control the neighbourhoodhouse's development.Equitable Access to Community Life: eliminating barriers toparticipation are a primary concern.A Welcome Home Feeling: a place to feel connected in a bigcity.CNH AND EMPOWERMENTChapter II presented three criteria for determining whetherempowerment has, indeed, taken place. Applying these criteria to4 Ibid.94the development of the CNH, and the organization itself, revealsthe following:A)The presence of both real and perceived control over 'environment': the actual process of establishing the CNH can be seen as thebeginning of the community reclaiming some control over its future.With the CNH attaining full membership status with the United Way,and the inclusion of a permanent facility with the VLC development,the organization (staff, board members, volunteers, programparticipants; nearly 450 individuals) should feel an even greatersense of control over the direction of the community.Individual citizens, through the organization's programs, hiringpolicies, committee structure and constitution, are afforded theopportunity to control the future of their community. Mostcommittees include at least one community member, Annual GeneralMeetings regularly attract several dozen society members, programparticipation has increased to include over 400 individuals, andmost part-time, and some full time staff are from the community(CNH Annual Report, 1991).B)The opportunity to participate in decision-making at progressivelevels: the policies of the CNH, supported by its volunteerdevelopment programs and committee structure, strive to not only95include all citizens, but to also ensure opportunities to developthe skills and confidence necessary to accept greater levels ofresponsibility. For example, the Board of Directors alwaysincludes several community members, usually local residents whohave volunteered in lesser capacities. Most volunteer positionsare filled by consumers, particularly new immigrants who areencouraged to use these opportunities to make new friends and testtheir new language skills.C)Improved self-esteem and a greater connectedness to others: byencouraging involvement and participation of all citizens, as wellas providing opportunities for progressive levels ofresponsibility, local residents can develop greater confidence bydemonstrating their new skills. A greater connectedness to othersand a sense of community are one and the same. Both evolve throughshared values and norms with neighbours, the realization of commoninterests, and the security that comes from sensing tolerance ofand from others.All of these elements are actively promoted and nurtured by the CNHthrough such initiatives as regularly sponsored culturally-specificand multicultural events; weekly potluck dinners; nurturedparticipation of local residents in CHN's annual strategic planningworkshops; and, the hosting of City-sponsored planning sessionsaround community issues.96It is beyond the scope of this paper to assess whether greater selfesteem for individual Collingwood residents results from thepresence and structure of the CNH. However, based on thecharacteristics and criteria necessary for environments conduciveto empowerment, as presented by Compton (1971), Pinderhughes(1983), Kieffer (1984), Swift (1984), and Zimmerman and Rappaport(1988), the CNH has established a highly supportive environment forresidents. This environment is designed to increase theconnectedness between residents and others, and allow for theincreased confidence and developed skills Kieffer (1984) believesis necessary for developing a participatory competence in communitylife.The CNH's Constitution, the organization's structure for recruitingstaff and volunteers from the community, and policies thatencourage consumer-design of programs and services acts as acountervailing power to the organization's executive and staff byensuring the needs of the community are continually assessed, andservices reflect these needs. By actively encouraging andnurturing residents to accept graduating levels of authority andresponsibility within the organization, the CNH follows theparticipatory model of democracy described by Kotler (1967),Altshuler (1970), Benello and Roussopoulis (1971), and Katz (1984).This model can provide the type of environment which can lead tothe psychological empowerment defined by Pinderhughes (1983), andZimmerman and Rappaport (1988).97THE CITY AND THE CNHLOCAL AREA PLANNINGThe role of the City in the initial and ongoing development of theCNH began with a City-staff facilitated, more traditional model,local area planning process. Since 1973, the City of VancouverPlanning Department has promoted a policy of local neighbourhoodplanning processes, aimed at developing local area plans throughneighbourhood participation. The catalyst behind the development ofthese plans is often major land use changes within eachneighbourhood, such as the development of the Skytrain system.This was the case with the Collingwood (Joyce) Local Area Plan.At its conception, a number of models for citizen participationwere explored by the City, including the "Community AdvocateModel", the "Technical Model", and the "Partnership Model". TheCity opted for the Partnership Model, which involves recruitingcitizen committees from each community and working, with assistancefrom City staff and other agencies, to define problems, describeissues, set objectives, and develop neighbourhood plans. Theconcept provides for a 2-5 year administrative budget for Citystaff, office space, etc.Initially, all local residents are invited to public meetingshosted by City planning staff, where volunteers are encouraged to98make up the local citizen planning committee (which later becomesa 'working group!). These committees have no size limits, with theonly membership requirements being local residency and attendanceat three consecutive meetings.A designated planner, with support staff, works with the committeeon problem definition, searching out alternatives, and formulatingpolicies and actions to be incorporated into a Local Area Plan.During this phase, the Chairpersons of other local area planningcommittees are invited to share their community's experiences inthe planning process, as well as to discuss some of the problemsdefined and alternative solutions sought. After additionalconsultation and feedback from the community, the plan is presentedto Council.THE COLLINGWOOD "LOCAL AREA" PLANNING PROCESSIn 1982 the City Planning Department initiated a series of localarea planning meetings in the Collingwood community, generallyfollowing the above formula. Planners operated out of temporarystore-front offices in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood,approximately four kilometres from Collingwood. The planners weredirected by the City to emphasize this as a traditional land use99planning exercise', while some members of the citizen-basedplanning committee argued the community needed a more comprehensiveapproach that would bring the community together around largereconomic and social issues.As mentioned earlier, eighteen months after the City's planningprocess began, the Kingsway Community Development Project wasinitiated by local residents as a partial response to thisphilosophical difference between the City and the planningcommittee around the scope and appropriateness of the exercise.Many committee members felt the City, and City staff wereadvocating more for the needs of the City as a whole and less forthe immediate neighbourhood 6 .Collingwood has historically been underserved in terms of socialand health services and amenities, and many planning committeemembers viewed the City's planning process as further perpetuatingthis situation. The community development project was subsequentlyinitiated by the community to identify and articulate its issuesand concerns, independent from the City's planning process.The community development project became a significant component of5^Interview with Nathan Edelson, 1992.6 Interviews with Don Van Dyke and Chris Taalu, 1992.100the initial establishment and ongoing development of the CNH 7 . Theproject findings of Murphy and Woodsworth (1984), presented above,clearly illustrated the need for a community-based agency to act asa central focus for the residents, and to represent Collingwood'sinterests and provide much needed services for the community.After the creation of the CNH, disagreement developed between somemembers of the still functioning local area planning committee andthe CNH. At issue was the philosophical difference between theapolitical stance of the planning committee, and the commitment tosocial action and advocacy of the CNH 8 . Planning committeemembers, all, of whom are property owners, also felt the CNH wasjeopardizing the clout of the overall Collingwood community innegotiations with the right-leaning City Council around on goingland use issues 9 .THE ROLE OF THE PLANNERSDuring the local area planning process, the City provided a numberof planners to the community (as many as six were involved), basedboth on general staff turnover, and pressure from the community for7 Interview with Don Van Dyke, 1992.8 Interviews with Nathan Edleson, Paula Carr, and Chris Taalu, 1992.9 Interview with Chris Taalu, 1992.101change'''.Community pressure was often based on the community's dissatis-faction with some individual planning staff. Some local planningcommittee members felt the planners had varying levels ofunderstanding, experience and sophistication related to communitydevelopment".For example, one particular planner assisted in developing theinitial project proposal and supported the community's efforts tosecure funding for the Community Development Project, while otherplanners advocated with City Council to ensure specific referencesto the need for City support of the CNH were retained in the finalCollingwood (Joyce) Local Area Plan.The final "Joyce Station Area Plan" endorsed by Council (1987)included several references to the need for Council's support ofthe CNH, summarized in Policy 8.2, which reads:"The City should encourage the development of theCollingwood Neighbourhood House Society to serve as anongoing organizational focus for identifying andarticulating emerging community needs and to provide and10 Interview with Nathan Edelson, 1992.11 Interviews with Don Van Dyke and Chriss Taalu, 1992.102help coordinate programs and services for the generalpublic with emphasis on those with unmet special needs."Both of these examples demonstrate directing resources towards theneighbourhood, viewed by Forester (1989) and others (Pinderhughes,1983; Serrano-Garcia, 1984) as a necessary component for alteringthe denial of resources to communities, historical to Collingwood,and for reversing powerlessness.When the community development project's research findings wereintroduced in late 1984, the planning committee and the researchershad developed a strong rapport with some individual planners,particularly those planners who demonstrated a willingness to workoutside of the original land use mandate, proposed by the City'sPlanning Department, and support a more comprehensive needsassessmene 2 . The research findings, as well as the needsassessment process itself, signalled a further evolution in therelationship between the committee and the planners. What wasinitially a planning emphasis on creating a land use document,shifted to the development of an organization that could meetcommunity needs identified in the research findings. Thisorganization emerged in early 1985 as the CNH.The support of individual planners within the City for the CNHbecame critical as the community began its struggle in 1984-85 for12 Interviews with Don Van Dyke, and Chris Taalu 1992.103seed monies to establish a store-front facility. City plannerswere active in obtaining financial support for the concept, bothwithin the City's bureaucracy, but also with outside fundingagencies.Again, this illustrates the planners directing resources towards asignificant "mediating structure" in the community. Planners alsoparticipated in the development of the original constitution, whichexplicitly includes ensuring local involvement and indigenousleadership within the organization.THE ROLE OF THE CITY (PLANNING DEPARTMENT)The planning process initiated by the City, directed by thePlanning Department, was clearly within the traditional elitistmodel, which implicitly served the interests of the alreadyorganized and powerful in the community. Instead of attempting todevelop the "participatory competence" of those alreadydisenfranchised by society, the Planning Department turned to thead hoc planning group, dominated by property owners, to representthe interests of the community. Doing so supported the assumptionof Kweit and Kweit (1981) that only those who are interested orcompetent enough to contribute would bother to participate.The Planning Department failed to recognize the issue raised by104Benello and Roussopoulis (1971) that it is the unorganized andpowerless who lack access to resources and have no voice in anelitist dominant culture. Also, the process was only opened to thecommunity as a whole when the Planning Department went through themandatory public hearing process for rezoning and OfficialCommunity Plan review. This supports the notion presented byWalker (1983) and Anderson and Boothroyd (1983) that publicparticipation measures that are only a means to an end rather thanas a goal themselves represent corporate, rather than socialplanning.Despite the recommendations of the Council-adopted Local Area Plan,the City's Social Planning Department (responsible for providingcommunity grants) balked at ongoing "core" funding or for a largegrant for a permanent facility, opting instead to provide 'seed'monies for a modest facility. However, since the CNH was firstestablished, the organization has lobbied and obtained increasingfinancial support from Social Planning, efforts supportedinternally by Social Planning staff assigned to the neighbourhood.So, while the City's Social Planning Department was reluctant to bethe Neighbourhood Houses's major funding source, it did renewpartial operating grants each year, based on City staffrecommendations fl . The City, through the Social Planning13 Interview with Paula Carr, 1992.105Department, also supported numerous applications to other socialservice funding sources, culminating in the Neighbourhood Housebecoming a full agency member of the United Way in 1991.SUMMARYThis case study is intended to assess whether the City's local areaplanning process served to empower residents and the immediatecommunity, and if the CNH can be used as a mechanism for empoweringothers and providing more effective participation within theCollingwood community. The case study illustrates the contrastbetween the agendas of individual neighbourhoods and the largercommunity, represented by local government, when dramatic changetakes place in the "public interest". It also demonstrates theprofessional dilemma planners face while working with individualcommunities in such an environment.The initial local area planning program is typical of many urbanplanning processes. Planning agencies advertise that residents canattend meetings, discuss issues, and "participate". However, theseforms of community participation are an extension of the elitistdemocratic model that assumes that this forum captures all theinput necessary from communities, and the residents should feelhonoured they are even allowed to be involved beyond the ballotbox.106This study reveals that the community's needs were not being met bythe local area planning program. The community, with support ofplanners who, through their own initiatives, operated outside ofthe constraints of the Department's traditional model, tookmeasures to empower itself. This empowerment included acquiringthe resources necessary to include residents in assessing theoverall needs of the community, culminating in the development ofthe CNH. It may be impossible to speculate as to whether the CNHwould have developed at all or with the same policies andconstitution without the involvement of the City planners.Certainly, planners who contributed to the organization'sdevelopment played a significant, supportive role by providingspecific expertise on incorporating as a non-profit society,developing a Constitution and bylaws, and establishing strongrelations with funding bodies. But, more significantly, theplanners continued to support the CNH within their bureaucracy,including ensuring the Planning Department strongly recommend CityCouncil's explicit support of the CNH the formal Local Area Plan.During interviews conducted by the author, planners expressed thathaving offices located actually within the Collingwood communitymay have led to even greater community development. However, it isargued here that not having an office physically in the communitymay have allowed for a more grass-roots community developmentprocess that used planners for technical expertise in acquiringneeded resources and developing the CNH. This, along with the107Planning Department's original land use agenda, may have served to'enlighten' the community that in order to have real power they hadto "take" control, rather than have it given to them.The study reveals that residents interviewed felt planners whoempowered the community were those who were enlightened about thedynamics of participation, and the need to develop a greater senseof community. Certainly, the advocacy of some planners forindigenous leadership was a conscious decision, as was theinclusion of community involvement in the CNH, entrenched in theorganization's constitution.Finally, the financial and community support the CNH ultimatelyreceived from the City served to empower the organization, but notuntil the community and the planners strongly advocated on behalfof the community. This has been enhanced by the City's support forthe new facility, and the full-member status the CNH obtained withthe United Way in 1991.108CHAPTER VICONCLUSIONThe issue addressed in this paper relates to fostering andmaintaining community health through planning initiatives thatemphasize empowerment. The literature says that empowermentemerges from the sense of community emanating from theconnectedness between individuals, and their immediateneighbourhood and the larger community; and, the degree of controlindividuals and the collective community have over decisions thataffect them. Empowerment also improves self-esteem of individuals,which, in turn, can produce an increase in citizen participation incommunity planning, greater self-reliance of individuals andcommunities, and improved problem-solving skills of both individualcitizens, groups and the greater community. This may be achievedthrough consciously and systematically involving citizens incommunity goal setting and decision-making. However, since theplanning profession has operated within the confines of moreelitist rather than participatory forms of democracy, traditionalplanning initiatives cannot be seen as empowering.THE MEANING OF EMPOWERMENTUnderstanding the meaning of empowerment may be best achieved byunderstanding its antithesis,^powerlessness.^By being109systematically denied opportunities to have some degree of controlover their lives, often through paternalistic policies, people willnaturally feel apathetic and powerless. They can then becomepsychologically alienated from the world around them.Powerlessness is the absence of both real and perceived power.Understanding empowerment begins with recognizing the emotionalaffect of powerlessness (alienation and despair), the negativeimpact this has on self-esteem, and the long-term implications ofimproving self-esteem. It connotes providing citizens withopportunities to change or control their lives.Empowerment is the belief that one's opinions have validity andmerit, reinforced from interaction with others in a problem-solving environment. It satisfies a basic human need of connectionor attachment between individuals and their community, which, ifabsent, perpetuates a sense of powerlessness, alienation, anddespair. It implies having both the ability to effect change orcontrol one's life, as well as the opportunity to do so. Abilitiesare enhanced in a reciprocal cycle of improved self-esteem andself-confidence acting to motivate the person to greater action ontheir own behalf, which further improves self-esteem and spurnseven greater action.Opportunities to effect change are fostered through policies andinitiatives which strengthen rather than weaken the mediating110structures between individuals and the larger society:neighbourhoods, families, churches, clubs, and voluntaryassociations.The top-down planning approach initiated by the City assumed thatall individuals interested and capable of contributing to the localarea planning process would simply show up and participate. Itfailed to recognize that those who are historically disenfranchisedhave the least developed participatory competence and needmediating structures in order to reconnect with others. Evidencefrom the CNH (Constitution, policies, level of voluntarism from thecommunity) suggests that as a mediating structure it allowsresidents to first seek services, then develop skills for increasedparticipation, beyond meeting their own needs to meeting the needsof the organization and the community. While the scope of thisstudy did not involve a more in-depth analysis of the impact of theCNH on residents self esteem, the evidence also indicates theorganization serves to effectively connect residents with othersand the larger community, seen by Coopersmith (1967), Rappaport(1981), Pinderhughes (1983), Zimmerman and Rappaport (1988) andStaples (1990) as a necessary element for improving self esteem.A significant component of empowerment is raised consciousnesstowards the institutional and societal forces that perpetuate thepowerful/powerless relationship.^The Kingsway CommunityDevelopment Project reflects how the residents recognized the111Planning Department, through the land use planning process, was notacting in the community's interests, and needs were not beingidentified and met. Planners who supported the project anddirected resources to the community also recognized that the localarea planning process was perpetuating the historical denial ofresources for the community.EMPOWERMENT AND HEALTHY COMMUNITIESEmpowerment is a concept that has deep significance forunderstanding the interaction and on going relationship (or lackthereof) of the individual to others in society. To comprehend themeaning of empowerment and its role in planning for healthycommunities is to understand the significance of the individual'sbasic need to feel a connection or attachment with the community,in other words, to have a sense of community.The processes and implications of involving citizens in communitydecision-making is as complex and dynamic as the human mind itself.To reduce citizen participation to a level of maximum efficiencyfor the political system is counter-productive to planning forhealthy communities.The concept of empowerment presented in Chapter II bears littleresemblance to the traditional practice of public participation112exercised in present-day western society. Current practices tendto breed passivity and apathy amongst the general citizenry byimplying that the "system" is more efficiently operated byprofessionals and elected officials. These practices also implythat the opinions of the majority of those outside this system or"circle of power" are invalid, their knowledge and capabilities tocontribute meaningfully are limited, and their interests tooself-centred to be in the public interest.The literature says that citizen or "public" or "community"participation, or whatever the label used, is considered to be anintegral part of democratic society, particularly as it relates tourban planning processes. Yet, historically, citizen participationinitiatives have been based as much on the preservation of andbelief in the capitalist economic system as it is in the ideal ofa truly democratic society. In other words, traditional publicparticipation processes reflect contemporary societies support ofproperty rights over citizenship.EMPOWERMENT THROUGH COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENTThe CNH case study supports the research discussed in theliterature review (Coopersmith, 1967; Katz, 1984; Hirayama andCentingok, 1988; Zimmerman and Rappaport, 1988) which finds thatcommunity groups that employ empowerment principles can be113effective mechanisms for empowering its members. The case studyresearch shows the CNH has developed policies and practices thatattempt to provide members opportunities to control the directionand activities of the largest and most significant organization inthe community. It introduces members to the decision-makingstructure of the organization at progressively greater levels ofresponsibility, which allows for the development of confidence intheir abilities to accept this responsibility. Finally, the CNHprovides members with a vehicle for interacting with others in thecommunity, often around identifying needs and developing solutions,leading to a greater sense of community through shared experienceswith others. The success of these policies and practices isevident in the consistent annual increases in program utilizationand voluntarism by local residents.TRADITIONAL PARTICIPATION STRATEGIES AND EMPOWERMENTTraditional participatory planning programs assume that a "levelplaying field" exists in society, where all citizens at any givenpoint in time, have similar degrees of confidence, competency andskills, and opportunities to problem solve and interact meaning-fully with the larger community. The local area planning programinitiated by the City typifies this approach, with itssuper-imposed planning program parachuted onto a communityhistorically disempowered by societal institutions.114The Collingwood community had a limited history of collectiveproblem solving, and had no mediating structures or institutionsthat could support residents in developing their participatoryskills on a long-term basis. The City's agenda was that thealready powerful within the community would represent the interestsof the community as a whole. This is illustrated by its use of theproperty-owner dominated advisory group to set up this program.It was only through the actions of planners and residents, who haddeveloped their consciousness relating to forces that weredisempowering the community, that the City's planning programresulted in a vehicle for empowering the community. So, it wasthrough the non-traditional actions of enlightened planners andcommunity activists with community development backgrounds, thatthe community began to assume greater control of resources.Ironically, the City's planning program had an indirect empoweringeffect, by raising the community's consciousness about how and whythe community was disempowered. The case study reveals that localneeds were not being met by the City's program, and the community,with support of select planners, took measures to empower itself.Planning agencies need to develop more participatory processeswhich consciously and explicitly recognize the psychological affectof empowering others. 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