Understanding middle class community activism
January 20, 2012
The middle classes are better at getting what they want from local services. So if public policy is shaped by the Big Society, is there a risk that those most in need will be further disadvantaged? It could be a matter of priorities, say Peter Matthews and Annette Hastings
It’s almost a truism of regeneration policy – non-deprived communities complain more about local public services and so get better services.
From community development projects of the early 1970s onwards the focus of regeneration policy has often been community development, or community capacity building, to enable those in deprived areas to interact with local public services on an equal footing to their more affluent neighbours.
This empowerment agenda has received criticism, yet there is still a belief that deprived communities must be engaged in the regeneration of their communities for a key practical benefit. It is presumed that many of the problems of deprived neighbourhoods persist because service providers do not know about them or provide the wrong solutions.