The New Localism: Neighborhood Activism and Slow-Growth Politics in North America and Europe in the 1970s


ACLS Fellowship Program


American Studies

Named Award

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow named award


This project examines what is here referred to as the “global neighborhood movement” of the 1970s in Europe and North America. Whether referred to as “slow growth coalition,” “neighborhood movement,” “neighborhood power,” or “community revolution,” a remarkable rise of local citizen activism took place in cities in both Europe and the United States in the 1970s. The catalysts in all countries were state development projects and urban renewal schemes that sought to build or expand highways, nuclear power plants, public housing, and airports. The neighborhood movement was linked as well to a new anti-statist politics that emphasized local identity, autonomy, ethnic power, cultural and linguistic heritage, volunteerism, decentralization, and increased citizen participation in governing institutions. Rather than a shift rightward, the project argues, the emerging and eclectic “new localism” mixed left-libertarian and populist conservative impulses.