Local governance and public policy : the dynamics of renewing disadvantaged neighbourhoods
Responding to local areas with entrenched social and economic disadvantage has been a significant public policy issue in many parts of the world. Despite many Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries mounting various programs to address the issue of distressed urban areas, Australian public policy has largely failed to develop responses to this issue. A key challenge has been to establish appropriate governance arrangements to support an effective response. The
... e response. The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the development of place-based governance theory in the context of responding to local disadvantaged areas. It draws upon a synthesis of theoretical propositions together with insights from empirical data to arrive at a set of six place-based governance principles. The empirical data has been derived from the secondary analysis of qualitative data from the implementation of the first phase of the Community Renewal Program (CRP) over the period 1998 -2001. The research produced a number of findings. First, it is clear that government has a central role to play in the governance of local renewal efforts. Second, however, is the challenge for government to achieve optimal integration of institutional arrangements at multiple levels from local through to regional and central aspects of governance. Third, genuine community participation, particularly by residents of these local areas, is required and this can only be achieved through ongoing interaction and communication amongst stakeholders. These findings are drawn together to develop a set of place-based governance principles as a contribution to theory development. The intention with these principles is to contribute to future policy and program efforts to address spatial disadvantage. iv v ACKNOWLEGDEMENTS Like many theses, this one has been a long and difficult production effort. I would like to acknowledge, first and foremost, Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes who has been there from the start to the finish as one of my supervisors. Myles is truly a wonderful person, full of wisdom and, most importantly, patience and an ability to 'hang in there'. I would also like to acknowledge Professor Robyn Keast, also my supervisor, who has provided invaluable knowledge, assistance and advice in getting me to clarify and sharpen what it is I am trying to say.