Political Science ETDs

Publication Date



The federal government, in partnership with local government, has recently become committed to programs directed at improving the quality of life in urban slums. Several of these programs have required that those residents who are directly affected by the program participate meaningfully in its decision-making mechanism. The purpose of this study is to describe the pattern of citizen and resident participation in one such program, the Albuquerque Model Cities Program. The temporal limits of the study are confined to the Albuquerque Program's first year of operation (March, 1968, to March, 1969). In order to develop data which could form the basis for future comparative analysis of programs encouraging citizen participation, a number of sources were utilized. Among these sources were extensive formal interviews with citizen representatives to the Program's policy-making board, casual interviews with Model Cities staff, the application of a group observation instrument to committee and board meeting interaction, and the analysis of citizen and staff attendance records. To provide a framework upon which the Albuquerque Program might be discussed, the concept of citizen participation is introduced. As well, the following topics complement the main body of the text: the activation of the concept by congressional legislation; the programs developed to implement Model Cities legislation; and finally, the socio-economic-political setting in which the Albuquerque Program must operate. The main body of the text consists of a study of the Albuquerque Program based upon the following six criteria: 1) The potential and actual influence which citizens exert within the Program's structure; 2) the "representativeness" of citizen-leaders; 3) the amount or quantity of citizen and staff participation; 4) the quality of citizen and resident participation; and 5) the role of "grass roots" organizations in the Program. From the results of this descriptive study of the character and extent of citizen participation, several points might be inferred. First, the structure constructed to involve the citizen has meaningfully incorporated the citizen-resident into the Program's policy-making process. Citizens and residents are able to participate and affect the Program. Second, citizens and residents are intensively involved in the Program; yet, the number of those participating does not appear to be extensive. A small core of influential individuals (including residents of the affected area, Albuquerque citizens and staff members) operate within the formal structure to effectively control the Program. Third, the Program's base of resident participation is weak relative to the strength of the other components. And finally, the extent and character of participation allowed in Model Cities Programs is ultimately a function of local government's permissiveness.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Harry P. Stumpf

Second Committee Member

William Weismantel

Third Committee Member

William J. Brisk



Document Type