Five ways to make a difference: Perceptions of practitioners working in urban neighborhoods

Catherine Durose, Merlijn van Hulst, Stephen Jeffares, Oliver Escobar, Annika Agger, Laurens de Graaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This article responds to and develops the fragmented literature exploring intermediation in public administration
and urban governance. It uses Q-methodology to provide a systematic comparative empirical analysis of practitioners
who are perceived as making a difference in urban neighborhoods. Through this analysis, an original set of five
profiles of practitioners—enduring, struggling, facilitating, organizing, and trailblazing—is identified and compared.
This research challenges and advances the existing literature by emphasizing the multiplicity, complexity, and hybridity,
rather than the singularity, of individuals perceived as making a difference, arguing that different practitioners make
a difference in different ways. The authors set out a research agenda, overlooked in current theorization, that focuses
on the relationships and transitions between the five profiles and the conditions that inform them, opening up new
avenues for understanding and supporting practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberDOI: 10.1111/puar.12502
Pages (from-to)576-586
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


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