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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19144

Title: Communities and Leaders at Work in the New Economy: A Comparative Analysis of Agents of Transformation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Hamilton, Ontario
Authors: Fennessy, Barbara Ann
Advisor: Livingstone, David W.
Department: Sociology and Equity Studies in Education
Keywords: new economy
community economic development
urban and regional planning
community leadership
transformational leadership
economic revitalization
Issue Date: 25-Feb-2010
Abstract: Without change, stagnation is inevitable. Never has this truth been more obvious than during the current epoch of industrial decline in North America. This research provides two economic narratives that exemplify the struggles of industrial communities as they strive to regenerate. The research involves a comparative analysis of the transformation of two steel cities, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Hamilton, Ontario, from 1970 to 2008. For cities in which one major industry has formed the foundation of the local economy, job losses can result in massive dislocation and devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities. Pittsburgh and Hamilton are among many cities striving to diversify and strengthen their economies as manufacturing diminishes and Western sunset industries rise in the East. Transformation has been much more extensive in Pittsburgh than in many cities because Pittsburgh was so largely dominated by the steel industry and faced a virtual collapse of that industry. Hamilton has also experienced a steep decline in steel and related manufacturing jobs. Based on 55 interviews with city leaders, including a pilot study in Welland, Ontario, this research examines eight critical factors that collectively influence development: transformational leadership, strategic development planning, civic engagement, education and research, labor, capital, infrastructure, and quality of life. The study looks at how city leaders drive these factors in the context of global economic forces to revitalize their communities. Together, these elements combine to create the new economy of cities. To achieve successful transformation, the elements must function as part of an integrated system─a community economic activity system (CEAS). This research is grounded in MacGregor-Burn’s (1978; 2003) transformational leadership theory and positions local leadership as the central driver of economic regeneration. It highlights the importance of enduring social relations among leaders for creating an organized, yet dynamic, base of power that is necessary to mobilize resources and execute development policies to achieve qualitative change. Moreover, it points to the importance of inclusiveness and openness in engaging local citizen groups in order to build trust and confidence that recovery will happen. Pittsburgh and Hamilton offer many examples of successful partnerships that increasingly involve public-private-nonprofit-academic collaboratives.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19144
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education - Doctoral theses

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