Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Leonard Ruchelman

Committee Member

Berhanu Mengistu

Committee Member

Donald Zeigler


The study describes and analyzes the implementation of federally-funded neighborhood conservation programs in two of Portsmouth, Virginia's oldest urban neighborhoods by addressing four research questions: (1) To what extent is there variation in the implementation of neighborhood conservation projects in differing neighborhood settings? What are the factors that account for such differences? (2) To what extent are the neighborhood conservation projects distributive or regulatory programs, and what forms of conflict and/or cooperation result from this? (3) What is the intergovernmental context of neighborhood conservation projects, and how does this affect the nature of bargaining and negotiation among governmental units? and (4) To what extent has implementation of these projects been successful?

Comparing the experiences in the two projects, the study found that the level of technical difficulties and the range of behaviors to be regulated were factors which consistently facilitated implementation. The inability to recruit implementing officials consistently impeded it. Differences in implementation was primarily due to six factors: the initial allocation of financial resources, the extent of behavioral change required, the degree of public support, the attitudes and resources of constituents' groups, the innovative leadership of implementing officials, and socioeconomic conditions.

Although the federal rehabilitation loan program was reduced and the housing inspection program was terminated, implementers were partly successful in providing alternative local resources. As implementation procedures became routinized over a long period of time, no differences in implementation could be discerned between the two projects. The projects were successful as measured by the improvement in measures of neighborhood conditions, especially in median housing value.