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Organizing for change: North Tyneside Community Development Project and its legacy

Armstrong, Andrea; Banks, Sarah

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This article critically reviews the North Tyneside Community Development Project (CDP), which ran from 1972 to 1978 as part of a British anti-poverty experiment in twelve economically deprived areas. We draw on research undertaken by Imagine North East during 2013–2016, summarizing the CDP's work on industry/employment and housing, and discussing its distinctive features including: its ideology of ‘radical reformism’; action-research on gender issues; pioneering work on play and youth; and published accounts of the process of local organizing and campaigning. We assess the project's legacies, including a six-volume final report, and enduring organizations and networks down to the present day. Despite subsequent regeneration initiatives, the former CDP area is the most deprived in the Borough, thus confirming the CDP's structural analysis of disadvantage and more recent critiques of area-based regeneration. In concluding, we examine the self-critical reflection in the final report that during its life, the CDP team struggled to balance local community work and wider structural issues affecting the industrial working class nationally and globally. We compare this with the struggle today for many local community organizations, which face being co-opted as welfare agencies dealing with individual crises in a climate of economic austerity and neo-liberal politics.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 27, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2017
Publication Date Mar 24, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 29, 2017
Journal Community Development Journal
Print ISSN 0010-3802
Electronic ISSN 1468-2656
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Issue 2
Pages 290-312
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Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (476 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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