Institutions and urban revitalization: The case of Chelsea in New York City

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The emergent institutionalist perspective in urban geography has recently been applied to explain neighborhood revitalization in a number of seminal analyses. This research on Chelsea in New York City extends this body of theory by considering how the effect of institutional activity on neighborhood revitalization is itself constrained by the activities of other institutions. The research examines the wide range of institutions whose conflicting objectives, values, and activities played a role in funneling reinvestment into Chelsea between 1970 and 1980. The results suggest that an understanding of the neighborhood revitalization process can be substantially advanced by focusing on the prerequisite social, political, and economic resources necessary for its unfolding. Local managers operate under subjective value orientationsbeing influenced themselves by the power of other competing and conflicting institutions—which control and direct access to scarce resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-145
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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