Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Richard McAnaw

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Isaak

Third Advisor

Dr. David Houghton

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Community development corporations (CDCs) are non-profit, neighborhood-based, real estate developers. They share a common mission to improve social conditions in communities where they work. CDCs were developed based on two distinct models: (1) an intervention model, and (2) a grass-roots model.

This work was predicated on a theory of political science: high levels of social conditions correspond with high levels of democracy. High levels of democracy will be demonstrated by high voter participation. The work of CDCs and their impact on communities in Chicago was analyzed to test this theory.

Four CDCs and corresponding communities were chosen for this study. Comparisons were made between the levels of various social conditions and of voter participation in selected communities. The comparison axis was the CDC model. The study sought to demonstrate differences between CDC models and evidence of democracy. The data did not offer any consistent relationships that support this hypothesis.