Civic Engagement in Camden, New Jersey

A Baseline Portrait

Prepared for the MDRC and the Ford Foundation, New York, NY

Co-authored with Robert Lake, Kathe Newman, Philip Ashton, and Bradley Wilson as part of a “multiyear study of the origins, implementation, achievements, and challenges of redevelopment strategies” in Camden, New Jersey. The report “focuses on the city of Camden and takes a look at the difficult challenge of fostering meaningful and effective civic engagement in a complex, state-mandated redevelopment initiative. It describes how the redevelopment initiative has been stymied by a legacy of municipal mismanagement, a resulting mistrust of officials by residents, conflict among the various players in the city, and the political pressure of a very short timeline for redevelopment. At the same time, Camden and its citizens can point to a few examples of positive civic engagement in the revitalization process, which may offer a framework for future progress.”