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Upscaling DowntownFrom Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City$
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Richard E. Ocejo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155166

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155166.001.0001

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The Limits of Local Democracy

The Limits of Local Democracy

(p.181) Chapter 6 The Limits of Local Democracy
Upscaling Downtown

Richard E. Ocejo

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the limitations of local participatory democracy, focusing on how the competing definitions of community and conflicting understandings of the appropriate use of the neighborhood that residents and bar owners hold play out during community boards' meetings. It begins with one of several episodes featured in the chapter of residents and bar owners debating liquor licensing and quality-of-life issues in their immediate area and surrounding neighborhood. It then considers the strategies that both neighborhood residents and bar owners use against each other to push forward their definition of community. It shows that early gentrifiers and the community board rely on their past experience in their neighborhood, with the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA), and with bar owners to hone their arguments and reshape their policies to protest bars. Participatory democracy serves as a powerful remedy for such processes as those that bring about advanced gentrification.

Keywords:   local participatory democracy, community, bar owners, community boards, liquor licensing, neighborhood residents, New York State Liquor Authority, bars, gentrification

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