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Involvement of Renters Survey

Tabitha Underwood

I need some feedback on a project and would appreciate any advice you all might be able to provide. For a time I worked with a municipality to help them develop neighborhood services programming. Neighborhood engagement and community building are my passions and I would love to be able to return to this work someday. In the meantime I’m developing a research project that examines the involvement of renters in citizen engagement and community building endeavors facilitated by municipalities across the country. I am mainly interested in neighborhood services type programs that involves helping neighbors get to know one another, neighborhood revitalization, neighborhood councils, etc. Renters are often a forgotten constituent in community engagement and sometimes treated as second class citizens based on the rhetoric of the American Dream consisting of homeownership. Therefore, I want to gain a better understanding of how renters are incorporated into existing endeavors. The way I have the research project structured is a short online survey emailed to municipalities to complete. This is just an exploratory study and I am looking at sending it to a relatively small sample of the 3 most populous cities in each state. I am wondering who would be the best person to send it to? Every municipal government is different and has different people/departments in charge of community building or even community development work. I am wondering about the viability of sending it to the city manager’s office at each municipality and asking them to forward it on to the appropriate person. This would create some consistency in the sampling and decrease the amount of time I need to take searching for appropriate contacts. What do you think? I’m sure many of you work in this arena and I would love to hear what you have to say about this. Any advice would be much appreciated.


Toby Cotter

Interesting study. The email idea would work in some states, but remember not all large cities are managed the same. As to the premise, I personally make no distinction between an owner or renter when making decisions that impact my community. I think most managers would agree that we do not treat renters as second class citizens. In all my years, I can't remember a situation where engagement was different when comparing property owner versus renter. Good luck with your research.

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17 Apr 15
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