Chapter 7: What can Northwest European community enterprises learn from American community-based organizations?
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As a result of government cutbacks, Northwest European policymakers, scholars and community activists have expressed increased interest in entrepreneurial forms of active citizenship including but not limited to community enterprises. We believe that Northern European community enterprises (CEs) can benefit from the experiences of American community-based organizations (CBOs) including but not limited to community development corporations (CDCs). This chapter identifies and assesses recent writings on CBOs to bring our 2015 Journal of Enterprising Communities article up to date. Our computerized literature review covers the evolution of CBOs in recent years, the factors affecting CBO capacity, how CBOs resolve the tension between comprehensiveness and institutional viability (the ‘quadruple bottom line’), citizen participation, and community revitalization impacts. We offer several takeaway lessons for Northwest European community enterprises, that it is possible to reconcile the tensions between economic development and social equity and that top-down community development is not necessarily bad.

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