Neighborhood Council 'Talk Story': A Comparative Analysis of Planning and Land-use Influence by Neighborhood Councils in Los Feliz and Hollywood Hills West

Beginning the late 20th century neighborhood associations emerged as key players in the governance of American cities. Today, Los Angeles boats the largest and most formalized system of neighborhood governance, with 99 elected and publicly funded neighborhood councils. Scholars have investigated the role such councils play in affecting policy, improving social service delivery, and furthering democratic participation, And while the literature on Los Angeles' neighborhood council system has both explored the historical context of its emergence and critically assessed its representativeness, there is a lack of in-depth research on the ability of neighborhood councils to influence land-use and planning decision making, and specifically how such influence is exercised. Using two of the city's most high-functioning neighborhood councils-Los Feliz and Hollywood Hills West-as a comparative case study, this paper investigates how neighborhood councils leverage social and political capital to influence planning and land-use decision making at the city level. The authors' findings offer key insights as to the challenges and opportunities of achieving equity and democracy in neighborhood governance.


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