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Promise and Betrayal

Universities and the Battle for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods

John I. Gilderbloom, R. L. Mullins Jr., Henry Cisneros

Publication Year: 2005

Traditionally, institutions of higher education have been viewed as the gateway to a better future, despite the fact that so many of the neighborhoods surrounding them have been filled with hopelessness and despair. In Promise and Betrayal, the authors want nothing less than to start a revolution in higher education, calling on partnerships between “town and gown” to create sustainable urban neighborhoods. John I. Gilderbloom and R. L. Mullins Jr. detail how higher education institutions can play an important role in helping to revitalize our poor neighborhoods by forming partnerships with public, private, and nonprofit groups. They advocate leaving the “ivory tower” and supplying the community with expert knowledge as well as creative and technical resources.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Promise and Betrayal

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xviii

Our colleges and universities have always been the hope for our nation’s future. As repositories and conservators of knowledge, they pass on the accumulated understanding and wisdom of one generation to the next. As centers of thought and research, they continually build on the work of previous generations, constantly expanding our horizons of understanding. Our institutions of higher learning introduce young people to the wider world beyond the familiar confines of home and family—to new ideas, new ways of looking at things, and, most importantly, to other people from widely varying backgrounds—to the rich diversity of human experience...

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pp. xix-xx

Universities can play important roles in partnership with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The University of Louisville turned a poor black neighborhood into a laboratory of innovation. Soon this once blighted neighborhood was rebuilt, reclaimed and revitalized. This neighborhood went from a laboratory to a model for the rest of the nation. University programs such as SUN make operational the concept of public-private partnerships in order to succeed in urban renovation and rehabilitation where many others...

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pp. xxi-xxii

We thank the following individuals and organizations: the Honorable Henry Cisneros, Sam Watkins, the late Frank Clay, Marilyn Melkonian, John Martin-Rutherford, Derek Bok, Donald Swain, Larry Muhammad, Armand W. Carriere, Kristy Salerno, the American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute, Patty and Max Gilderbloom, Sarah Wortham, Jim Allen, Mayor Jerry Abramson, Scot Ramsey, Jennifer Fowler, LaTondra Jones, Jackie Alvarenga, Fitsum Kassie, Karthik Suresh, Dexter, Snoopy...

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Additional Resources

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pp. xxiii-xxiv

We have been funded to provide seminars and a DVD based on this book. The DVD that complements this book provides an eighty-picture slide show of before and after pictures of our target neighborhood, video clips of former President Clinton, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, former Harvard President Derek Bok, Mayor Jerry Abramson of Louisville, Kentucky, and former University of Louisville President Donald Swain discussing...

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1. Promise of University-Community Partnerships

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pp. 1-26

Collaborative processes, or bottom-up approaches, have not been tried extensively. When tried, many have not truly been bottom-up. One thing that distinguishes a bottom-up approach from a top-down approach is the scope of the project and sources of funds. Most of the failed, top-down approaches have employed large amounts of federal money and minimal local investment and have been geographically extensive, covering large sections of cities or regions. Bottom-up strategies are narrowly focused from an areal perspective...

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2. Universities Providing Human Services

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pp. 27-68

A U.S. Department of Education Urban Community Service Grant funded the University of Louisville HANDS (Housing and Neighborhood Development Strategies) proposal. At the time, the HANDS program was a fresh, innovative, bold and pragmatic partnership of business, government, local universities, the public school system, and community-based organizations. It was a multifaceted effort and commitment to assist a low-income, African-American neighborhood in lifting itself from poverty into self-sufficiency...

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3. Universities Helping to Rebuild Neighborhoods

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pp. 69-106

One of the positive things about university involvement in the community is the culture of experimentation and the freedom to do it. Much of this chapter focuses on the most successful aspects of the HANDS program—community design and home ownership. This is the chronicle of what worked and what did not work in the physical redevelopment effort. It is also a record of unrealized dreams (i.e., development of vest-pocket parks)...

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4. Urban Revitalization Partnerships: Perceptions of the University’s Role

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pp. 107-120

Inner-city communities have severe problems with crime, homelessness, joblessness, illiteracy, environmental and infrastructure problems, and a host of other challenges. Universities can play important roles in partnership with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in ameliorating these urban problems. There is not a vast body of literature on university-community partnerships. In fact, there has been little effort...

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5. The Urban University in the Community: The Role of Boards and Presidents

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pp. 121-142

Colleges and universities are increasingly important partners in urban revitalization programs. While much good can come of these university-community partnerships, results to date generally have been inconsistent and marked by distrust or disinterest. While universities are seeking a role, they are unsure of what communities need or want. Moreover, despite a broad range of university- community involvement programs, there has been little agreement on who should be involved to ensure success, what their roles and responsibilities should be, and what the impact on the community could and should be...

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6. A Model for University-Community Partnerships

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pp. 143-156

Universities have not been key players in most community revitalization partnerships. As discussed earlier, the academy has much to offer the community in its efforts to move from despair to hope. The following discussion of the partnership process provides examples of how to assemble partnerships. Creating a Community Partnership The days of massive investments of federal funds in our inner cities are gone...

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7. Betrayal by the Universities

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pp. 157-168

Universities can do a lot in their respective communities, but few really do. That is what we mean by “promise and betrayal” by our universities. The promise is great. Few of our nation’s universities perform substantive community building. In 1992, approximately 100 out of 3,650 higher education institutions applied for the $1.5 million U.S. Department of Education Urban Community Service grants. Less than 200 universities received HUD Community Outreach Partnership grants...

Appendix A: Program Correspondence

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pp. 169-198

Appendix B: HANDS Strategic Management Plan

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pp. 199-206


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pp. 207-208


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pp. 209-216

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About the Authors

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pp. 217-220

John I. Gilderbloom, Ph.D., 1983, University of California, Santa Barbara, is a tenured professor of urban and public affairs in the graduate program in urban and public affairs at the University of Louisville. He currently directs the Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) at the University of Louisville. Since 1992, his competitive, federally funded grants have totaled nearly $4 million. He has brought in from nonfederal sources over $1 million from private foundations, churches, and local government...

Name Index

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pp. 221-222

Subject Index

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pp. 223-228

E-ISBN-13: 9780791483114
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791464830
Print-ISBN-10: 0791464830

Page Count: 252
Illustrations: 12 b/w photographs, 1 map, 8 tables, 11 figures
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Community and college -- United States.
  • Community development, Urban -- United States.
  • Universities and colleges -- United States -- Public services.
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