• 234 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25
  • 2 tables
  • Price: $34.95
  • EAN: 9781439914069
  • Publication: May 2018
  • Price: $99.50
  • EAN: 9781439914052
  • Publication: May 2018
  • Price: $34.95
  • EAN: 9781439914076
  • Publication: May 2018

Democratizing Urban Development

Community Organizations for Housing across the United States and Brazil

Maureen M. Donaghy

Rising housing costs put secure and decent housing in central urban neighborhoods in peril. How do civil society organizations (CSOs) effectively demand accountability from the state to address the needs of low-income residents? In her groundbreaking book, Democratizing Urban Development, Maureen Donaghy charts the constraints and potential opportunities facing these community organizations. She assesses the various strategies CSOs engage to influence officials and ensure access to affordable housing through policies, programs, and institutions.

Democratizing Urban Development presents efforts by CSOs in four cities across the hemispheric divide: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Washington, DC, and Atlanta. Donaghy studies the impact and outcomes that ensue from these efforts, noting that CSOs must sometimes shift their own ideology or adapt to the political environment in which they operate to ensure access to housing and support the goals of an inclusive city.


"Donaghy conducted impressive fieldwork for this study....The book contributes important insights to the literature on social movements.... This is a fascinating book that illustrates how (community organizations) make a difference for increasing the city’s inclusivity through strategies that enhance the democratic character of a society."
— American Journal of Sociology

"Democratizing Urban Development is a particularly noteworthy book with an especially appealing four-city, North-South scope. In command of a vast literature, Donaghy offers an inspired analysis that links social movement with urban development struggles. The combination of housing and urban work makes this book a pathbreaking volume for comparative urban research."
Clarence Stone, Research Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, George Washington University, and author of Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 1946–1988

"Throughout the world, big cities are struggling to provide housing for their growing populations. Accommodation issues are particularly acute for members of lower-income groups, who are increasingly being challenged by gentrification and real estate development. In her pioneering comparative study, Democratizing Urban Development , Maureen Donaghy deftly tells the story of how local communities and their supporting organizations in four cities—two in Brazil, two in the United States—push against the prevailing tendencies of marginalization and polarization. The unusual compilation of cases from both developed and transitional cities yields some exceptional nuggets of insight into a problem that, in many respects, appears to be virtually intractable."
Richard Stren, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Senior Fellow, Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto, and co-editor of Cities Transformed: Demographic Change and Its Implications in the Developing World

"Democratizing Urban Development is a valuable contribution to the growing field of comparative urban politics.... This highly original comparison exposes how cities with very different political, economic, and social histories face similar obstacles to providing accessible affordable housing to their residents.... The strength of the book rests on Donaghy’s detailed and well-researched case studies of the four cities.... Democratizing Urban Development provides important insights into the collective action capacity of urban neighborhoods and organizations." — Journal of Urban Affairs

"(A) useful and extremely well researched book.... Democratizing Urban Development has many strengths. The careful research behind each chapter here is evident, and one of the book’s real assets is the way that activist voices and stories come through. Another strength is the way the author navigates disparate elements—rich case studies, comparisons between cases across countries, a commitment to analytic clarity, and the subtlety of stories—quite well."
— Perspectives on Politics

"Democratizing Urban Development offers a stimulating analysis of community organizations’ strategies and their relevance for preserving and promoting affordable housing and moving toward inclusive modes of governance.... (T)he book is a valuable resource needed to broaden the discussion on the role of housing community organizations for preserving and increasing affordable housing and at the same time democratizing urban planning across the world." — Journal of Planning Education and Research

"The book contributes important insights to the literature on social movements, moving beyond a standard focus on tactics to one on broader strategies. The book also contributes to the literature on governance by documenting how collective actors often seek influence not just from inside the state but also from outside.... Overall, this is a fascinating book that illustrates how COs (community organizations) make a difference for increasing the city’s inclusivity through strategies that enhance the democratic character of a society."
— American Journal of Sociology

About the Author(s)

Maureen M. Donaghy is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, and the author of Civil Society and Participatory Governance: Municipal Councils and Social Housing Programs in Brazil.

In the Series

Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy

The Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy series, edited by David Stradling, Larry Bennett, Davarian Baldwin, and Yue Zhang, was founded by the late Zane L. Miller to publish books that examine past and contemporary cities. While preserving the series’ foundational focus on the policy, planning, and environmental issues so central to metropolitan life, we also join scholarly efforts to push the boundaries of urban studies. We are committed to publishing work at the shifting intersections of cultural production, community formation, and political economy that shape cities at all scales, from the neighborhood to the transnational. Proposals may be submitted to Temple University Press Editor-in-Chief Aaron Javsicas or the series editors at the email addresses linked above. 

In honor of Zane Miller, the late founding editor of our series, Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy, we invite first-time authors to apply for a grant of up to $2,500 to help advance the careers of scholars from underrepresented communities with limited financial resources.  For more information, Zane L. Miller Book Development Award