Community Change

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Community Change is an online, peer-reviewed, graduate student-run journal at the Institute for Policy & Governance at Virginia Tech that explores multiple approaches to democratic community development and change. This interdisciplinary journal examines the practices, processes, and individual and collective struggles that produce change at all levels of society. Community Change adopts a broad definition of community development that includes issues relating to public policy, democratization, collective action, physical and social infrastructure developments, agency, and efficacy.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Letter from the Editors: Inaugural Issue
    Keyel, Jake; Smirnova, Vera (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    A letter from the editors for the inaugural issue of the journal Community Change.
  • No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age
    Apriliani, Putu D. (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    A review of Jane F. McAlevey's book No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age, 1st edition, 2016.
  • Older Adult Hunger: Theoretical Support for Community-Based Nutrition Programs
    Juckett, Lisa (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    Food insecurity affects over 10 million older adults in the United States. Older adults who experience food insecurity are at greater risk for malnutrition, which can lead to chronic disease and functional decline. Two-thirds of older adults already have two or more chronic disease, placing food-insecure older adults at even greater risk for increased health care costs and hospitalization. To promote successful aging, older adults need resources to help them overcome the barriers they encounter when attempting to access healthy foods. Select government programs have been established to help older adults obtain and consume nutritious meals, but further efforts are needed to validate the effectiveness and importance of these nutrition programs. Examination of government nutrition programs can be enhanced through a social cognitive perspective. This paper will review constructs of the social cognitive theory (SCT) that help explain the dietary habits of food-insecure older adults and will use the SCT to explain how senior nutrition programs can help facilitate healthy eating behaviors.
  • Managing a Complex Public Organization under Resource Dependency: The Case of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail System
    Hollandsworth, Edgar M. (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    This article offers a timely and empirical case study of the effects of political influence from governing stakeholders on the management of a major inter-regional public transportation system in the greater Washington, DC area.  It demonstrates the critical importance of intensive cooperation between federal, state, and local authorities for the sustainment and effective delivery of a vital public service, and documents the significant challenges for public managers charged with administering public organizations in an organizational environment characterized by resource dependence, principal-agent conflicts, and dysfunctional governance structures.  Solutions recommended include institutional entrepreneurship, lobbying for stronger federal oversight, and greater use of strategic planning and strategic communications to shape public and legislator perspectives.
  • Transforming Your City with Placemaking: An Interview with Ethan Kent
    Guerra M, Vanessa; Lyne, Heather; Smirnova, Vera (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    The placemaking movement has gained traction in the Western world since the sixties, and the Project for Public Spaces has been in its forefront. Senior VP of the PPS, Ethan Kent, spoke in October 2016 at the Institute for Policy and Governance's "Community Voices" with Vanessa Guerra, a doctoral student in Environmental Design and Planning, Vera Smirnova, a doctoral student in Urban Affairs and Planning, and Heather Lyne, a Master's student in the Public and International Affairs program, all from Virginia Tech. This is a shortened version of the full interview transcript; the full audio interview can be found at
  • The Exchange Project: A Case Study in Public Interest Design as a Catalyst for Cultural Engagement in Entonet, Kenya
    Ayers-Johnson, Joseph; Ayers Looby, Bridget; Ayers Looby, Anna; Benge Briggs, Lydia (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    This article outlines a case study of a piloted design and cultural collaboration between a group of University of Minnesota graduate students and a diverse tribal community in Entonet, Kenya. Both the project ideas and outputs as well as the approach of the exchange itself were rooted in the principles of Public Interest Design (PID) and the Social, Economic, and Environmental Design (SEED) mission to use the strength and knowledge of the community as the framework for solutions. These solutions then, in turn, act as a catalyst for further Public Interest Design within the Entonet community where the changes have occurred.
  • Social Imaginaries, Shared Citizen Action, and the Meanings of “Community”
    Kirakosyan, Lyusyena (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    Community has been considered a man’s natural home by many thinkers. Nonetheless, scholars, practitioners, and the general public have not yet developed a shared conception of what community means. This article considers some of the different ways that speakers in the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance Community Voices (CV) initiative have conceptualized "community" in their talks. In the relevant academic literature, as in the CV talks, community has been viewed as alternately, place, belonging and practice. I discuss each of these conceptions and analyze them in light of the existing literature, being mindful of the overlaps among them. These conceptions reveal diverse ideas of "community" and the implications of such ideas for grassroots citizen involvement and for social imaginary. By taking a closer look at the link between the imagination and action and applying Taylor's and Ricouer's conceptions of the social imaginary, I conclude that the stories shared on the CV stage about local citizen action show how imagination can help us understand how we belong and how we create change through our individual and collective stories.
  • Placemaking Revisited
    Smirnova, Vera; Guerra, Vanessa (VT Publishing, 2017-04-19)
    UN Habitat recently adopted its first public space resolution, which incentivizes international communities to employ placemaking strategies and encourage inclusive and sustainable community change through physical urban design. Scholars argue that healthy, creative, and walkable places, parks, and streets stimulate people's interpersonal interactions and, supposedly, renovate abandoned, disenfranchised communities (Florida 2002; Glaeser 2011; Duany and Plater - Zyberk 1994). However, one needs to recognize the limits of this philosophy.