What Makes Neighborhood Associations Effective in Urban Governance? Evidence From Neighborhood Council Boards in Los Angeles

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931–943
Journal / PublicationAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number8
Online published6 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


This study examines the perceived effectiveness of neighborhood councils (NCs) in Los Angeles, a government-sanctioned and financed institutional innovation in urban governance. The study considers NC boards as a dynamic and open social system that interacts with NCs’ internal and external environment. We propose that three factors—internal capacity, external networking, and attention-action congruence—are related to perceived NC effectiveness. The findings from a questionnaire survey of 80 NCs show that NC leaders perceive their organizations to be moderately effective. While internal capacity contributes to all three dimensions of effectiveness, external networking enhances NCs’ effectiveness in solving community issues and advising about city policies. Attention-action congruence, which examines the correspondence between NC board members’ issue orientation and actual actions, is positively related to NCs’ effectiveness in advising about city policies. The study concludes with considerations for enhancing the effectiveness of neighborhood associations.

Research Area(s)

  • board, Los Angeles, neighborhood council, organizational effectiveness, urban governance