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Cities Building Community Wealth

In cities across the nation, a few enjoy rising affluence while many struggle to get by. This situation is created in part by the practices of traditional economic development. Current trends threaten to worsen, unless we can answer the design challenge before us. Can we create an economic system—beginning at the local level—that builds the wealth and prosperity of everyone?

The cities profiled in this new Democracy Collaborative report show the way forward. Economic development professionals and mayors are working in partnership with foundations, anchor institutions, unions, community organizations, progressive business networks, workers, and community residents. What’s emerging is a systems approach to creating an inclusive, sustainable economy where all can thrive. The work is place-based, fed by the power of anchor institutions, and built on locally rooted and broadly held ownership. It’s about building community wealth.

Cities Building Community Wealth is available as a free PDF download; if you'd like to order printed copies, either for yourself or to distribute to local elected officials and community stakeholders, click here (bulk rates available).

This report was created with the support of the Surdna Foundation.

Executive Summary
Infographics
20 Cities Building Community Wealth

More updates

Can Community Wealth Building Redefine City Economic Development?

Steve Dubb
Rooflines: The Shelterforce blog

In this article written for the Rooflines blog, our Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb points out key examples of equitable and sustainable alternatives to the traditional forms of economic development found in a new report released by Good Jobs First. Dubb highlights the case studies presented in our report, Cities Building Community Wealth as essential new approaches to combat the detrimental effects of traditional development practices. 

Press Release: New report from the Democracy Collaborative highlights city governments embracing policies and programs to build community wealth

Strategies rooted in broad ownership and stronger local economies emerging as an alternative to traditional subsidy-driven economic development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Takoma Park, Maryland — November 9th, 2015 In an era of persistent urban inequality and chronic unemployment, new alternatives to the traditional economic development strategies that have failed to bring broad and evenly distributed prosperity to America’s cities are clearly needed. The Democracy Collaborative’s new report, Cities Building Community Wealth, responds to this challenge by highlighting best practices in inclusive innovation from twenty cities across the country, and offering a unified vision of the underlying new paradigm of community-focused economic development.

Community wealth building: America’s emerging asset based approach to city economic development

Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley
Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy

Across the United States a growing number of communities are experimenting with innovative ways to create a more equal, democratic, and community-based economy from the ground up. Our Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly and Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley co-write a piece for the Renewal Journal on how we can use a "politics of place" and "politics for places" to uplift communities across the country and world: