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Trust and participation in urban regeneration

Dominic Aitken


Despite trust's perceived importance in participatory local governance, very few studies, theoretical and empirical, have devoted attention specifically to understanding their interaction.  Focussing on resident participation in urban regeneration, this paper identifies shortcomings in the literature's theoretical grasp of trust.  This has led to a trust-participation paradox: some academics have suggested that increasing resident trust in officers, institutions or their community will result in more participation, whilst others have argued that lower trust leads to greater participation.  This paper suggests that the key to solving this theoretical quandary is to relinquish the perception of trust as a monolithic concept and recall its context-dependent nature.  It proposes several forms of trust which could theoretically impact on residents' willingness to participate in urban regeneration: receptivity trust; ability trust; and representative trust.  It concludes with recommendations for future theoretical and empirical research.


DOI 10.3351/ppp.0006.0003.0003