Neighborhood Programs And Policies
Although community development and neighborhood improvement projects are traditionally associated with attempts to modernize U.S. communities and Third World villages, a more recent trend has been combating the effects of modernization in the small towns and urban neighborhoods in the United States. During the 1960s, community development models were created to battle the effects of modernization by transforming socially isolated, politically powerless individuals into organized, territorially based neighborhoods pursuing common goals, thus empowering the family to make positive changes in the community.
A primary reason for the relative success of famed community organizer Saul Alinsky (1971) was his recognition that local neighborhoods retained important elements of a socially organized community. The ghetto or slum was not devoid of a neighborhood and was not a disorganized community. Alinsky's strategies for community development are usually viewed as among the most successful attempts ever made at practical neighborhood organization (Reitzes and Reitzes 1982), and a key to his success was the recognition of existing community organization and the ability to combine and build upon these local organizations. Still, Alinsky's strategies are difficult to put into effect. They require vigorous, time-consuming, and continuous efforts on the part of shrewd community organizers, and even then their success is limited.
Garbarino (1996) advocates policies with organized service delivery that allocate the scarce resources and intervene in the high-risk areas. Policies need to be based on a family-communitygovernment relationship of joint responsibility that develops informal networks aimed at resource exchange. Successful policies need to strengthen networks and interdependence that empower the community as a family support system (Garbarino 1996).