Budgeting for Democracy

How residents of Lawrence, MA, are campaigning for greater resident control of public resources.
July 17, 2006, 5am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan
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How does a struggling old mill city with a dysfunctional public life use the energy of its "newcomer" Latino population to become a hotbed of progressive civic engagement practices?

Lawrence, Massachusetts was founded by the Essex Company in 1847 as a center of textile production, and during its first 75 years became the “woolen and worsted capital of the world” â€" only to decline into stagnation over the next 75.

In 1999, a reborn community development corporation, Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW), emerged from local organizing work and began connecting residents around a broad-based revitalization strategy for the city. One recent focus of this work has been a resident-led City Budget Campaign to catalyze community participation in the budget process and to change the way decisions are made about local resource allocation.

Thanks to David Holtzman

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Published on Friday, July 14, 2006 in Shelterforce Magazine
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