Raquel Insa-Ciriza

The Woodlands: A different way of governance

The Woodlands (Texas) is one of the best examples of success in a public-private partnership between the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a private firm. Developed as a New Town by MitchellEnergy & Development Corporation, The Woodlands has flourished and created a critical mass of residential development, employment, its own sense of community and, significantly, its own form of governance as the only example in United States of government by community associations. The Community Associations, represented by a board of directors, provides most public goods to the community. In this paper, we see what is called «citizen involvement» based on what New Public Service theory defines as government based in the community. They are not reinventing government; they are creating new governance where citizens prefer to empower rather than to serve. This case study help us understand how higher citizen participation in local governance can decrease developer’s power. This community involvement creates a citizen implication in city growth and governance.

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