WHAT PARTICIPATION DOES TO PUBLIC POLICY: THE CASE OF THE CHICAGO PLAN FOR TRANSFORMATION AT LATHROP
Based on the case study of the urban renewal project of Lathrop Homes' public housing units in the city of Chicago (Illinois), this article analyzes the effects of public beneficiaries' participation on the implementation of public action. The residents of this neighborhood opposed themselves to the project in which they were involved. Their use of participatory governmental devices spawned the rise of a contentious movement that blocked the project for several years. Participatory processes can therefore slip from the grasp of public or private actors that are responsible for it. Indeed, in this case, participation opened a window of opportunity for contention and its tools constituted mobilizing structures through which potential beneficiaries organized and framed their contestation. Nonetheless, the article also highlights the complex adaptation of public programs in response to the inclusion of policy targets. It concludes that the limits of participation are maybe more related to the incapacity of public actors to learn from these processes rather than the manipulation of their tools and the conflicts that emerge from them.
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