Abstract Accounts of the Community Development Projects (CDPs) that ran as experimental interventions in twelve deprived UK localities in the 1970s concentrate on those projects identified as ‘radical’. Focusing on the often-neglected history of Paisley’s CDP, this article extends recent critical re-evaluations of how CDPs have been characterized. Ferguslie Park in Paisley was the most disadvantaged of the CDP areas on several criteria, and the only CDP to be based in an outer-urban area, as well as being distinct in further ways. This influenced how the CDP team devised its community development strategy, which is misunderstood when treated as embodying a parochial ‘kailyard’ mentality. Paisley’s CDP has continuing relevance to debates about area-based policy and public involvement in research as they are rehearsed in new contexts. Introduction The Community Development Projects (CDPs) that ran as experiments in twelve deprived locations across the United Kingdom in the 1970s continue to attract attention among scholars, policy-makers and activists. The programme was subject to considerable academic criticism (Payne et al., 1981, ch. 8) but nevertheless had a significant impact on community development (Craig et al., 2011, p. 7). Contributions to issue 52(2) of this journal confirm the CDPs’ continuing relevance, although their focus on the minority of CDPs identified as ‘radical’ reinforces the neglect of others. Kraushaar (1982, p. 68) divided the CDPs into three broad categories, defined as ‘local amelioration[ist]’, ‘traditional’ and radical’. According to him the first group ‘recognized the structural nature of problems but chose to ignore it in terms of their strategies and activities’. The second ‘attempted to address these wide issues using traditional community work methods’; and the third ‘evolved new strategies to address new problem perceptions’. Kraushaar’s treatment of Paisley’s CDP as ameliorationist is problematic because a different perspective is conveyed in its various traceable reports, which Kraushaar appears not to have consulted. Kraushaar’s typology of ‘local amelioration[ist]’, ‘traditional’ and ‘radical’ CDPs was echoed by Carpenter and Kyneswood (2017), Green (2017) and Armstrong and Banks (2017). Introducing these papers, Banks and Carpenter explained that the aim of the following three articles, as case-studies of three ‘radical’ CDPs, is…to offer more detailed accounts of how the CDPs operated on the ground, and to re-evaluate their legacies from the vantage point of the second decade of the twenty-first century. However, they also recognized that ‘the reality was somewhat more complex’ than Kraushaar suggested, noting that there was in practice less distinction than he implied between the five CDPs that he classified as ‘radical’ and others (Banks and Carpenter, 2017, pp. 227, 233). Paisley’s CDP is perhaps the least well-known of the CDPs, and also one of the most distinctive. Unlike other CDP areas, almost all of the housing was municipally owned, and it was often superior, in terms of basic amenities, to the privately rented properties found elsewhere (Paisley CDP, 1978a, p. 18). However, although the population was declining rapidly, overcrowding and high male unemployment rates remained key features (Paisley CDP, 1978a, pp. 5–6; 1978g, p. 6). It was also the only CDP to be located in Scotland, where policy processes have long been distinct. Paisley’s CDP does not fit easily into Kraushaar’s typology. The CDPs are rightly remembered for the structural analysis of community problems that they developed as a critique of the programme originators’ view that multiple deprivation reflected a ‘culture of poverty’. Paisley’s CDP endorsed the view that local problems must be placed in the broader context of income inequality, noting that rent arrears were the highest in areas where incomes were the lowest. Evictions were ‘symptoms of deeper problems’, namely ‘low wages and low levels of benefit’ (Paisley CDP, 1978f, p. 1). Paisley’s CDP understood the structural argument; the question is what they did with it. For Kraushaar, what mattered was how CDPs responded to their discovery of structural influences. He argued that the CDPs that focussed on ‘local amelioration’ ‘concluded that they were relatively powerless to affect these structural conditions’ (1982, p. 68) and chose to ignore them when developing their strategy. This mischaracterizes Paisley CDP’s record. The team may not have adopted the ‘radical’ analysis of class struggle and capitalism’s crisis-prone character that underpins publications such as Gilding the Ghetto (CDP 1977), but nor did they ignore structural forces in developing their strategy. They did not retreat into the parochial and inward-looking mindset of ‘kailyardism’ that outsiders have a history of attributing to Scots (McCrone, 2017, p. 383). However, they did attempt to work with the grain of local structures wherever possible, despite the superficial attractiveness of pursuing more immediate victories through confrontational politics. This article draws on archival and documentary sources relating to the Paisley CDP, and five interviews and two group discussions with professionals and others active in the CDP period and current Ferguslie Park residents and local activists. The research was undertaken between 2015 and 2017 as part of a larger investigation into the relationship between ‘welfare’ and ‘community’ in west-central Scotland since the early nineteenth century. It sought to place the Paisley CDP in appropriate context and to establish its wider significance. The article reveals that the Paisley team deserves more credit than it has been given. It sets out key points relating to Ferguslie Park and the CDP based there before describing the team’s activities and underpinning philosophy. Finally, it considers the lessons for present-day debates about area-based policy interventions, the different meanings attached to ‘democracy’, and the methods used in research relating to community development. Paisley and its CDP Paisley is arguably the least-well-known CDP; it is, for example, the least-mentioned CDP in Loney’s (1983) classic study. Divergent trajectories meant that no CDP was typical, although some commonalities existed. Upper Afan CDP and Paisley were both outside England, and both faced catastrophic falls in employment. In the Welsh case, this was caused by the contraction of coal mining (Penn and Alden, 1977, p. 87). One of our local participants recalled how Ferguslie Park had supplied workers to ‘the car factory, the thread mills, the rope works and jam works’, and how the decline of these industries meant that ‘there was no work for the locals except very low-paid services like working in shops’. Each CDP, including Paisley, offers distinctive lessons about community change. Gauged by rates of male unemployment and overcrowded housing, Ferguslie Park was the most deprived CDP area (Paisley CDP, 1978a, Appendix 3). The CDP experiment by no means brought an end to its problems, not even the beginning of the end (Collins, 1997). Five years is a very short time frame in which to confront and begin to reverse profound structural disadvantage. Despite association in the popular imagination between poverty and parts of Glasgow, Ferguslie Park remains the most deprived area in Scotland. Data from the 2016 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation show particularly low scores for education, health, employment and income indices (less so for crime, housing and access) (http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/SIMD) Although not part of Power’s (1999) comparative study, it fits her characterization of Estates on the Edge: large public housing schemes facing multiple challenges that have emerged as unintended consequences of their original planners’ visions, around which there was an optimism that is now hard to appreciate (Power and Houghton, 2007). Ferguslie Park’s continued disadvantage does not mean that the CDP failed completely in its mission or that there have been no subsequent improvements in the area’s position. As retired community worker Bill Munsie has pointed out, improvements in absolute terms have occurred over the years. Munsie (2016) argues that the Scottish CDP shows that although concentrated local problems cannot be addressed completely at the local level (‘the problems of Ferguslie Park can never be resolved in Ferguslie Park alone’), the success of initiatives to combat the geographical concentration of disadvantage is nevertheless linked to the involvement of local people: more could have been achieved ‘if the central importance of letting local people direct the activity had been better understood’. Much hinges on whose voices are heard in the process of community change and who has the power and resources to implement their agenda. Home Office staff of the 1960s expected the CDP teams to show how the problems of deprived communities could be tackled by bringing local people together in mutually supportive ways that would address their assumed deficit in this respect. They thought active intervention was necessary because social deprivation caused people to ‘have a limited awareness of the true nature of the problems that they face’ (quoted in Higgins, 1978, p. 9), and a corresponding lack of organization to solve those problems. Coventry’s CDP ‘soon discovered that the disadvantaged were neither outstandingly incompetent nor unused to helping each other’ (Marris, 1987, p. 32); CDP teams elsewhere came swiftly to similar realizations. Community organizations already existed in Ferguslie Park when Paisley’s CDP commenced in 1972. This was something which George Irving, the CDP’s first Director, knew through his previous employment there as a senior social worker. That role made him less of an outsider than the staff in some other CDPs. The CDP team built on what already existed when setting up the basic project infrastructure. They then pursued an agenda similar to the other CDPs’, focussing on housing, unemployment, information and advice and education, but they sought to develop a strategy that offered the best chances of success in the local circumstances where structural problems had distinct characteristics. Ferguslie Park had a distinct housing profile. Most CDPs were located in older, inner-city neighbourhoods with mixed housing tenure types, including a substantial private-rented sector and some owner-occupation (see also Carpenter and Kyneswood, 2017, p. 256; Green, 2017, p. 271). As Figure 1 shows, Ferguslie Park was an outer-urban estate separated from neighbouring areas by the railway lines and main roads that bounded it and, according to one of our participants, had the feeling of ‘the largest cul-de-sac in the world’. It was a distinct working-class area, comprised almost entirely of properties built for rent by the local authority in phases from the 1920s onwards. The idea of ‘housing classes’ which Rex and Moore (1967) developed to highlight the disadvantaged position of private renters compared to local authority tenants applied in most CDP areas, but not in Ferguslie Park. Here, despite variations in housing standards associated with date of construction, properties without exclusive use of three amenities (a hot water supply, a bath or shower, and an inside toilet) were virtually unknown. This made it the best-placed CDP area by this standard, in stark contrast to Benwell and Southwark where most housing was lacking in this respect (Paisley CDP, 1978a, p. 18; see also Armstrong and Banks, 2017, p. 299). Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Ferguslie Park (source: Gilbert and Rosenburg, 1980) Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Ferguslie Park (source: Gilbert and Rosenburg, 1980) The contrast between the pattern of housing tenure in Ferguslie Park and that in other CDP areas mirrored wider differences between Scotland and England and Wales. By the late 1970s council housing constituted almost one-third of housing in the UK (English, 1982, p. 181), but approximately one-half of housing in Scotland (see http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/local/2013/nr_130711_housing_overview.pdf, p. 10) and two-thirds of housing in Paisley (Paisley CDP, 1978b, p. 5). At that point the ‘residualization’ (Forrest and Murie, 1988, ch. 4) of council housing that saw the social profile of tenants narrow considerably during the 1980s was still in the future, although warning signs relating to the geographical concentration of housing disadvantage were already discernible. Ferguslie Park undoubtedly faced major problems in the 1970s. Statistics on local unemployment rates, household income, receipt of welfare benefits, household types and housing situations together provided a telling profile of a ‘concentration of socially and economically disadvantaged people’ (Paisley CDP, 1978b, p. 21). Their situation was significantly worse than that of Paisley overall. In 1971, the male unemployment rate was nearly three times that for Paisley, and 30 percent of the male workforce in Ferguslie Park were unskilled, compared to Paisley’s 12 percent. The proportion of lone-parent households was double that of Paisley, as was the level of overcrowding (Paisley CDP, 1978a, pp. 5–8; 1978g, p. 6). One of our participants recalled a close housing six families who had 105 children between them, although this has been impossible to verify. Even if memory can be unreliable, there is no doubting that comparison to national averages revealed stark inequalities in terms of several indicators of deprivation. Ferguslie Park undoubtedly warranted a CDP experiment. Importantly, the Paisley CDP team’s research did not stop at scheme-wide statistics but included more fine-grained analysis at the level of enumeration districts (EDs). The 1971 population of Ferguslie Park was 12,300, living in some 3000 dwellings, but statistics for this population as a whole were misleading because residents were far from uniform despite almost all being local authority tenants. The annual rate of housing turnover in Ferguslie Park in the mid-1970s was double that for Paisley overall, but the Ferguslie Park average of 12 percent included some streets where it was below 3 percent while others had a turnover rate exceeding 20 percent (Paisley CDP, 1978b, p. 9; 1978f, p. 57). Turnover was connected to out-migration, which a former CDP worker described as ‘dramatic’. In consequence, Ferguslie Park was disproportionately the destination of people in greatest housing need, and who were not in a position to wait for their preferred housing destination to become available. Applicants waited on average ten months to move into Ferguslie Park but forty five months in Paisley overall (Paisley CDP, 1978b, p. 14). Ferguslie Park was an expression of social segregation within Paisley and the wider society, being a place where poorer households were concentrated, but it had its own patterns of segregation as well. A resident we interviewed recalled how ‘the estate was very territorial and it had a top, a middle and a bottom’, although she also said that each area’s residents thought their own part of the estate better than the others, forcing them to ‘agree to disagree’. The older houses saw no demolitions and full occupation (Paisley CDP, 1978a, p. 4). The demand for housing dating from the 1920s (when local authority properties were built to higher standards) demonstrated that parts of the sector had on-going popularity. The CDP team recognized the need to organize first on a local scale because ‘it is unrealistic to expect instant unity in a population of around 10,000’ (Paisley CDP, 1978c, p. 3), that is, across Ferguslie Park as a whole. This was a reasoned strategic decision, not the expression of a parochial mentality. It was a small first step towards the ambitious goal of ensuring through regeneration programmes that ‘all council house schemes will be good places in which to live and attractive to a wide range of people’ (Paisley CDP, 1978 f, p. 2). To achieve this, momentum would need to be built that took residents beyond the highly localized community identification that other researchers of the period were reporting (Elias and Scotson, 1965; Hampton, 1970, ch. 5). Significant time would be required to achieve such ambitions, and the CDP team knew that they had funding for only five years. Engaging in local action and local politics Ferguslie Park’s housing stock comprised properties of such variable quality that it bequeathed a difficult legacy, even though it was almost all under public sector management. The CDP publication Whatever Happened to Council Housing? (to which the Paisley team contributed) argued that housing built as part of slum-clearance programmes was intentionally constructed to a lower specification. The authors argued that previous generations of policy-makers had distinguished between ‘respectable’ working-class tenants who could afford the higher rents charged for the 1920s properties and ‘the poorest families in real housing need’ who were restricted to ‘the ‘unrespectable’ estates of the 1930s’. The document presented the CDP teams as having greatest sympathy with the latter, seeking to work ‘with tenants who are the most stigmatized and isolated not only from the community in general but even from other council tenants’. Need was greatest amongst the inhabitants of places ‘stigmatized by officials and other tenants’ that had become ‘classic ghetto estates’ (CDP, 1976, pp. 14–16, 10–11, 15). The authors presented the CDPs as championing the most disadvantaged sections of local populations forced to live in morale-sapping environments. Paisley CDP’s activities fit this narrative to a degree but they also recognized a need to retain the support of other groups of tenants and maintain their commitment to a broad agenda for change. In keeping with the spirit of the times (Mayo, 1977; Armstrong and Banks, 2017, pp. 290, 302–3), they worked predominantly with female residents (including those living in some of the most blighted properties) to press their case for urgent housing repairs and alterations to their immediate environment. Their four-year ‘fight for improvements’ constituted ‘a prolonged siege of the local authority’ (Paisley CDP, 1978c, p. 26). They were keen to stop the poorest residents being stigmatized, and so challenged the expression of ‘judgements which attempt to separate ‘good’ tenants from ‘bad’ tenants’ (Paisley CDP, 1978d, p. 7) when they arose. This meant that they sometimes contested views expressed by local authority representatives on the CDP Management Committee. Some elements of the local authority were hostile to the CDP’s perspective, but others were more receptive, and the reported ‘readiness of the more enlightened members and officers to receive criticism from consumers’ (Paisley CDP, 1978c, p. 1) suggests that the local state was far from monolithic. One former CDP worker recalled ‘a good working relationship and a good understanding’ in his dealings with the local authority. A united front on the part of Ferguslie Park residents was obviously desirable in pushing for change and, in order to develop a sense of common purpose, 1974 saw the creation of Ferguslie League of Action Groups (FLAG), a ‘scheme-wide ‘umbrella’ group’ that brought together existing groups and encouraged others to form. By the end of the CDP period, nine further street-based action groups had followed the lead of the Craigielea Drive Group (some of which went on to join forces as the Westmarch Action Group) (Paisley CDP, 1978c, p. 5). George Irving, Director of the action team for the first two and a half years, had set the tone of the Paisley CDP by ‘trying to work closely with local authority departments’ (Paisley CDP, 1978c, p. 2). This approach came under strain nationally as CDP activity gained momentum and helped to give voice to residents’ critical assessments of local authority service provision. Southwark’s CDP saw their role as channelling an already-existing ‘deeply felt grievance against the local authority’ (Davis, McIntosh and Williams et al., 1977, pp. 8, 27) rather than being its initiators. In response to such developments, local councillors could experience action researchers as the embodiment of ‘a bloody sociologist sneaking round my ward causing trouble’ (Davies, 1975, p. 80), to quote one Newcastle councillor. There were echoes of these tensions in Paisley relating to the CDP’s activities, which went well beyond ‘local amelioration’, but despite pressing the local authority to change its practices a former CDP worker recalled that he was not ‘regarded as a long-haired git trying to cause trouble’. However, this did not mean that the team failed to incorporate a recognition of structural factors in its day-to-day strategy. Barbara Jackson, who became Director of the Paisley CDP’s action team in 1975, took powerlessness as a starting point in her approach. She argued that ‘people living in places like Ferguslie Park have very little control over their circumstances and very little opportunity to bring their local knowledge and good sense into decision-making…the roots of the problem are not local and lie in the way society is structured’ (Paisley CDP, 1978c, pp. 2–3). Petitioning the Housing Department to press for a resolution of the situation of people living in partially demolished streets was underpinned by research, including a survey of tenants’ views, and by activism. A team member even floated the idea of organizing a rent strike. Kraushaar’s use of the term ‘local amelioration’ underplays the broader implications of a philosophy of supporting ‘the development of tenant groups that would be self-determining and independent’ (Paisley CDP, 1978c, p. 3). As Jackson (1977, p. 2) explained, ‘a consistent objective of the CDP has been to encourage independent local action through which people could develop confidence and skill in making their needs known and begin collectively to gain some control over the decisions affecting their lives’. For this, local presence was important. A photograph survives of members of the action team (which included some residents) outside the CDP Centre in Ferguslie Park which provided a base for their activities (Figure 2). Figure 2 View largeDownload slide CDP action team, September 1976. Left to right: Willie Elliott, Pam Davidson, Steve Mason, Nancy Elliot, Mike Martin, John Gilbert (ASSIST), Helen Kerr, Barbara Jackson, Connie Simpson. Photo courtesy of Steve Mason Figure 2 View largeDownload slide CDP action team, September 1976. Left to right: Willie Elliott, Pam Davidson, Steve Mason, Nancy Elliot, Mike Martin, John Gilbert (ASSIST), Helen Kerr, Barbara Jackson, Connie Simpson. Photo courtesy of Steve Mason One early campaign related to the arrangements for refuse disposal. This was followed by an array of others as confidence grew among residents, especially women, described by the CDP team as ‘very able but not much involved in community affairs before’. The criticism that bottom-up agenda-setting risked missing the bigger picture was anticipated and countered: ‘self-help initiatives might initially divert energy from more fundamental problems but could eventually lead on to a greater awareness of the obstacles to change and more confidence in the power of joint action’. The CDP team was not seeking to ‘suppress local opinion’; rather they recognized that ‘in encouraging local people to express their views conflict was to be expected’ (Paisley CDP, 1978c, pp. 26, 3, 1). When compared to the goal of ‘radical’ CDPs seeking to achieve ‘many practical benefits for local residents’ (Banks and Carpenter, 2017, p.17), Paisley’s approach does not appear that different. What differs relates more to the language used to describe the implementation of the strategy deployed to produce those benefits. Such activity was complemented by the extensive provision of information relating to welfare benefits and rights, pushing for providers of housing and other services to be held to account. The Information and Action Centre (IAC) uncovered much unmet need ‘by taking information out to people’, as they did for example through a clothing grants campaign. It adopted ‘a strategy to develop local organizations around the issues of incomes and housing which would reflect local attitudes to official departments and which would be run by the tenants themselves in their own style’ (Paisley CDP, 1978e, p. 23). Local volunteers formed the backbone of the IAC workforce and in the process acquired specialized knowledge about income maintenance and housing, including evictions. This knowledge informed booklets such as Keep a Roof Over Your Head, written in a format that was tailored to the particular concerns of the area. The publication Against Eviction argued that evicting tenants ‘is not in the interests of anyone’, neither tenants, rate-payers nor local authorities. It also lamented the limited co-operation between housing officials and social workers assigned to people in difficulties (Paisley CDP, 1978 f, pp. 1, 23–5), mindful that a key aim of the CDP initiative had been to promote such inter-professional co-operation. Beyond the fields of housing and welfare benefits, the team also confronted the growing unemployment problem. By 1976 male unemployment in Ferguslie Park had risen to 28 percent (Paisley CDP, 1978e, p. 1), much of it long-term. Faced with the area’s ‘concentrated unemployment’, they pursued ‘a local initiative’ by setting up a small workers’ co-operative. Any such ventures were open to the criticism that they would be dwarfed by the scale of the problem (Payne et al., 1981, p. 174). In the CDP period the number of unemployed men in Ferguslie Park never fell below 500. Such criticism was countered by arguing that ‘tinkering at local level…can be justified in terms of the effect it and other similar initiatives might have in effecting more widespread change’ (Paisley CDP, 1978g, pp. 6, 2). Ferguslie Park’s workers were hampered by being disproportionately unskilled but many also believed that employers discriminated against them because of the reputation of their postcode area. Although the CDP researchers were unable to substantiate this (Paisley CDP, 1978a, p. 8), one of our interviewees argued that ‘the minute you mentioned that you had a PA31 postcode…you were turned down’. The co-operative had the potential to demonstrate ‘the willingness and ‘capacity to work’ of local unemployed men’, and ‘make a quick impression on the people of the area and so boost morale’ (Paisley CDP, 1978 g, pp. 35, 33) in the context of widespread alienation. One obstacle to the project was opposition by local trade unions to the co-operative undertaking work to improve the physical environment of Ferguslie Park that was the province of the Council’s Direct Works Department, even though some of that work was years behind schedule. In the event the co-operative provided employment for five workers for up to two years, and proved unsustainable once support from the Job Creation Programme and CDP funding (which contributed approximately one-third of the £20,000 allocated to the co-operative) was discontinued (Paisley CDP, 1978g, pp. 32, 47). These previously unemployed workers did go on to other employment, however, and more generally the effort to do something had been seen to be made. This fitted the CDP brief to experiment, which the team did in an informed fashion, seeking guidance from an existing workers’ co-operative elsewhere (Paisley CDP, 1978 g, p. 41). Conclusions and lessons for current practice The story of Paisley’s CDP is interesting in its own right and has contemporary relevance in relation to debates about three general issues as these are rehearsed in new contexts. These include area-based social policy, the politics of community development and public involvement in research. Regarding the first of these, area-based social policy initiatives, the Paisley CDP story suggests that changing an area’s physical infrastructure (e.g. through demolition of sub-standard housing) is more readily achievable than changing an area’s reputation. Robinson and Townsend’s (2017, p. 9) assessment of the situation in another CDP location, North Shields, reinforces this conclusion. The Paisley CDP noted that the location in Ferguslie Park of a scheme for supervising and training tenants with difficulties that had been run by Paisley Burgh Council between 1942 and 1971 had a stigmatizing effect on the area out of all proportion to its size (its 45 houses comprised just over 1 percent of the total dwellings). Its ‘disastrous effect’ (CDP 1976, p. 80) on the area’s reputation did not disappear with the demolition of these properties. If further evidence were needed that ‘a bad reputation can be difficult to overcome’ (Hampton, 1970, p. 115), Ferguslie Park provided it, though it was a point already well-documented in Scotland (Damer, 1974). Ferguslie Park to-day differs in many ways to how it was when the CDP ended in 1978, but the point remains that some aspects of the problems found there are stubbornly resistant to intervention. The American ‘war on poverty’ showed that it was important to engage with the meaning of deprivation in people’s lives in their local context, but the CDPs’ record in following this up was mixed (Marris, 1996, pp. 74–5; Emejulu, 2015, chs. 2–3). Paisley CDP’s efforts to give voice to ‘local opinion’ were sincere, but hampered by the lack of an established procedure that would allow it to be solicited, expressed, heard, given credibility and acted upon (Paisley CDP, 1978d, p. 7). Kraushaar’s mischaracterization of attention to local agendas as insufficiently ‘radical’ indicates that others besides the local authority needed to be persuaded of the merits of the CDP team’s strategy. Sometimes the views encountered locally were uncomfortable ones. The stigmatization of those in most need as ‘rough’ and ‘disreputable’ may have been ‘founded upon the grossest prejudice’, but it needed to be heard because it was ‘politically potent’ (Paisley CDP, 1978b, p. 16). In this context, reference was made to a shift in ‘local attitudes’ (CDP, 1976, p. 82) being required, both in Ferguslie Park and beyond. Despite the physical improvements of the CDP years there was still an ‘urgent need for substantial investment in the rehabilitation and improvement of the scheme’ (Paisley CDP, 1978b, p. 21) to bring it up to standard; without it other Paisley residents would not contemplate moving there. Ferguslie Park comprised only 13 percent of Paisley’s occupied council housing stock (Paisley CDP, 1978f, p. 50), and without improvement to the standard found elsewhere its leverage in local politics would continue to be hampered by a negative reputation. If cities are likened to jigsaw puzzles whose component parts need to ‘fit tightly together’ if they are to be sustainable, they need to overcome the ‘geographical separation’ and ‘social and economic segregation’ (Power and Houghton, 2007, pp. 163, 197) that continue to characterize marginalized outer estates. Paisley CDP’s story is significant for its early recognition that multiple deprivation was not exclusively an ‘inner-city’ phenomenon. Later research on outer-urban neighbourhoods would develop this theme (Byrne, 1989; Power, 1999; van Kempen et al., 2005). Henderson and Karn’s (1987) demonstration that spatial segregation resulted from local authorities allocating the poorest housing stock to social groups in greatest need echoed Paisley CDP’s (1978a, 1978b) findings and reflected Karn’s collaboration with John English, one of the Paisley CDP researchers. Concern over single-class housing estates dated back to the 1940s, but the phenomenon here was intra-class segregation. Concerns existed that parts of Ferguslie Park risked becoming associated with ‘houses which only the desperate will take’ (Paisley CDP, 1978f, p. 10), like Power’s (1999, p. 57) estates into which ‘those with choice do not move’. It was recognized that such reputational challenges needed more than local amelioration to turn them around. This problem has been compounded in the period since the CDPs by sustained shrinkage of council housing from its peak of housing over two-fifths of the UK population to less than one-tenth (Harris, 2016). The sector’s residualization means not only having to grapple with the greater concentration of deprivation among its tenants, but also the challenge of co-ordination with the increasingly diverse range of other bodies providing social housing. This necessarily exacerbates the problem of creating alliances for change. The CDP teams’ findings chime not only with other research regarding geographical expressions of community but also with the understanding of the second general theme of political processes and the state. Community work has been described as having ‘inbuilt ambiguity’ (Lees and Mayo, 1984, p. 29). State institutions operate at different levels, from national through regional to local, not always functioning as a coherent, co-ordinated whole. The argument that at more local levels ‘urban managers’ and ‘street-level bureaucrats’ could exercise some discretion in the allocation of resources was associated with Pahl (1975) and Lipsky (1980) respectively (see also Carpenter and Kyneswood, 2017, p. 251). They cast doubt on monolithic conceptions of the state. Paisley CDP’s efforts to find a degree of common ground with at least some state employees would have fitted this analysis better than the more oppositional line of promoting resistance to the state, described by Gilchrist (2004, p. 15) as the pursuit of ‘confrontational and subversive tactics’. Paisley’s housing management may have been ‘markedly paternalistic’ (CDP, 1976, p. 81), but within that structure there was scope for engagement around policies that went beyond local amelioration. This was especially true during the latter part of the CDP following the 1975 local government reorganization that saw Paisley Burgh Council superseded by Renfrew District Council and Strathclyde Regional Council. One of our interviewees considered this to have worked to Ferguslie Park’s advantage because the change of scale took it out of local Paisley politics, and linked it to an enhanced commitment to community development approaches as a means of addressing the issues faced by what Strathclyde Regional Council termed ‘areas for priority treatment’ (Young, 1987, p. 2). Later initiatives took this further, thereby adding additional layers of complexity to the evaluation of the CDP’s efforts. The CDPs were working in the context of competing claims to democratic legitimacy both before and after this change. Legitimacy bestowed by the workings of formal electoral systems is in tension with the case for direct action against ossified bureaucracies. This confirms Tilly’s (1997, ch. 7) point about democracy being like a lake, that there are several routes to democracy, and several forms that democracy can take. The CDPs, including Paisley, never really resolved the issue of what democracy meant when taking the side of the most disadvantaged with whom the sympathies of the majority of local people did not always lie. The Paisley team recognized that even where the scope for transformational change was limited, small-scale initiatives that included local residents nevertheless represented ‘a move in the right direction’ (Paisley CDP, 1978d, p. 3) with the potential to build momentum over time. Upper Afan CDP’s efforts to work with ‘motivated elected members, concerned officials and justifiably angry residents’ were echoed in Paisley, as was their impatience with radical criticisms of the system that ‘offer little constructive alternative’ (Penn and Alden, 1977, p. 188). Debates about the meaning of ‘radical’ community work have a long history (Shaw, 2003, p. 217) and it is instructive that a quarter of a century on from the CDPs Gilchrist (2003, p. 23) was arguing that ‘community development can only ameliorate the circumstances of our most deprived communities’, using the very term that Kraushaar treated as the antithesis of ‘radical’. These issues remain recognizable in current debates in community development (Meade, Shaw and Banks et al., 2016). Thirdly, the CDPs have lessons regarding research methods. The Home Office understood that they were initiating ‘a modest attempt at action research into the better understanding and more comprehensive tackling of social needs’ (quoted in Rutter and Madge, 1976, p. 39). Ray Lees (1973, pp. 247–8, 242), of the Batley CDP, identified early on the challenges that would arise as a result of the interested parties’ diversity: ‘it is simply not the case that elected representatives, administrators, project leaders, field-workers, local residents and research-oriented social scientists will necessarily see things in the same way’. In particular, his observation that ‘participation will vary…in its extensiveness, intensity, duration and purpose’ proved perceptive for Paisley (Paisley CDP, 1978d), as well as for other CDPs (Payne et al., 1981). The evaluation of the current vogue for the democratization of research, highlighting both its potential but also its challenges, can learn from the CDPs as an early experiment involving these ideas. Lees (1973, p. 244) also highlighted the danger of academic enquiry becoming subordinate to action, noting the risk ‘that research could give way to advocacy’. This was a lesson of the American experience, that scientific procedures are downgraded. Sennett (2012, p. 51) paraphrased the American community organizer Saul Alinsky as saying that ‘clarity and precision do not animate local communities’. Lees’s (1973, p. 242) concerns about researchers’ ‘commitment to rigorous procedures’ being compromised through community engagement were not borne out in Paisley CDP’s publications. These were well-researched documents that informed subsequent academic debates beyond those directly concerned with the CDPs, notably those about council housing and social segregation where they anticipated and informed Henderson and Karn’s (1987) arguments. They also enabled action to be informed, within an overall strategy that was not what Kraushaar called ‘radical’ but not ‘local amelioration’ either. Kraushaar’s (1982, p. 71) claim that the CDPs served to ‘polarize…the field of community work’ is therefore not substantiated. And if the distinctiveness in practice of the ‘radical’ CDPs is brought into question, so is the more general distinction between ‘radical’ and other community work. Paisley’s CDP may not have fitted the ‘radical’ mould but its significance was more than local and more than transitory. Paisley’s CDP was, in the words of local residents to whom we spoke, ‘the first piece in the jigsaw’ in the recent history of on-going attempts to ‘address the issues that affected people living in Ferguslie Park’. Acknowledgements Figure 1©Crown Copyright 1980 This map of Ferguslie Park is licensed under the Open Government Licence 3.0 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 Permission from Steve Mason to reproduce Figure 2 is gratefully acknowledged, as are the helpful comments of the journal’s referees. 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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact email@example.com
Community Development Journal – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 5, 2018
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