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Journal of Urban Affairs


Right-sizing planning operates on a notion that investing in the built environment throughout the entirety of a depopulating city is detrimental to the city’s redevelopment and long-term stability. This notion is antithetical to the activities of many community development corporations (CDCs) that build and manage physical development projects in distressed and depopulating neighborhoods. As such, in cities dominated by right-sizing efforts, the role of CDCs is being reconsidered and reinvented. This article considers the case of Detroit’s community development system, identifying the constraints and opportunities for CDCs under the new political economic context of right-sizing. The findings demonstrate that the effort to redefine the role of Detroit’s CDCs has disrupted decades of narrow focus on physical development and created new opportunities for CDCs to play active roles in community organizing and municipal politics. However, funders continue to place constraints on CDCs which limit their political potential.




This is an accepted manuscript of an article first published in Journal of Urban Affairs 40, no. 8 (2018): 1132-1145.

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