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David Varady, Reinout Kleinhans and Maarten van Ham

The global economic crisis has had a major impact on government spending for urban regeneration. In the context of these austerity regimes, in many European countries, community entrepreneurship and active citizenship are increasingly considered as a means to continue small-scale urban revitalization. This chapter investigates recent literature on both British community enterprises (CEs) and American community development corporations (CDCs). The aim is to assess the current potential of community entrepreneurship in neighbourhood revitalization in the United States and the United Kingdom. Starting from a seminal article, this chapter reviews literature focusing on the role of CEs and CDCs in neighbourhood revitalization. Differences and similarities are analysed, taking into account national context differences. While CDCs have a relatively successful record in affordable housing production in distressed areas, CDCs are fundamentally limited in terms of reversing processes of community decline. CEs in the UK have focused on non-housing issues. Our comparison reveals similarities but also differences with regard to aims, organizational characteristics, cooperation on multiple scales, and community participation. Apart from lessons that can be learned, we provide recommendations for further research that should cover the lack of empirical evidence in this field.

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David P. Varady, Reinout Kleinhans and Nuha Al Sader

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.