The role of incremental planning for community development, a case study of the North End Housing Project

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McIntyre, Gordon
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This work showcases the complexity and involvement of community development. It focuses primarily on the creation of a community-based housing corporation called the North End Housing Project and the community economic development (CED) elements incorporated into the initiative. North End Housing and its community development partners face a large number of obstacles, ranging from social problems to a huge stock of old and deteriorating housing. The methodology of this study is described as participant observation and research. The purpose of this practicum is to show how planning theory can be applied in the context of community development. A planning theory call Pragmatic Incrementalism is explored in this regard. Incremental planning theory works well with the variety of social theories that are embodied by community development. It is found that community development often proceeds through trial and error, making incremental gains towards its goals. Pragmatic Incremetalism recognizes these realities and prescribes a means to clearly identify, justify and maintain chosen goals. This process includes a communicative tool called the Wide Reflective Equilibrium (WRE) which can help structure debate within the community development process and help to bridge the class and value divide that may separate the practitioner and community members.