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Cities across the country are experiencing stronger growth than in any decade since the middle of the 20th Century, yet that growth has not been equal across cities and towns.
The racially motivated planning and financial practices of the past century destroyed many thriving communities of color in urban areas across the country, while others were left to stagnate and decline as investment was steered elsewhere. One of the biggest challenges facing urban advocates this century is identifying and implementing strategies that can help revitalize communities that have seen decades of disinvestment, in ways that are sensitive to the threat of displacement and emphasize access to opportunity.
Recognizing that the solutions to be developed are as multifaceted as the problems themselves, CNU's latest contribution to this conversation highlights several municipalities, developers, and organizations that have taken new approaches to ensuring more equitable development outcomes. The report also details a critical cross-section of the tools and strategies emerging from this work. Building Local Strength: Emerging Strategies for Inclusive Development is a practical document for local governments, practitioners, and community leaders.
Through eight community profiles, this report shows how small- and large-scale strategies can be used in various combinations to achieve more holistic, equitable development that looks beyond housing. Based on interviews with local practitioners, advocates, and city staff, the Innovation in Action profiles include:
- Anacostia Neighborhood in Washington, District of Columbia
- Boston Edison and Fitzgerald Neighborhoods in Detroit, Michigan
- Grow DeSoto Market Place in DeSoto, Texas
- Jolene's First Cousin in Portland, Oregon
- Iberville Offsites in New Orleans, Louisiana
- Portland neighborhood, Louisville, Kentucky
- Historic Westside in Atlanta, Georgia
- West Side Neighborhoods in South Bend, Indiana
Rebuilding whole, inclusive communities after exclusionary practices have torn them apart is an extraordinary task. Design solutions alone will not solve these problems, but the principals of good urbanism must be combined with powerful policies to reverse the legacy felt so acutely in communities across the country. Combining new and old tools, uplifting the work of diverse and innovative practitioners, and allowing for local knowledge and lived experience to drive a shared vision can be the first step.
We welcome your comments and ideas on ways to build community strength and avoid displacement. Send your comments to Margaret O'Neal, Manager of Strategic Partnerships.