S.E.E.D.S. Institute For Self Determination & Sustainability (SISDS)

Copyright © 2010 by S.E.E.D.S., In

Reframing Community Economic Development Policy:

Preliminary Recommendations for a Progressive Political Platform

Date: 10/25/10

Akinlabi E. A. Mackall

In crafting a progressive community economic development (CED) agenda and political platform, SISDS has found it necessary to reframe the purposes, goals, objectives and intended beneficiaries of contemporary “community development” and “economic development”.  SISDS is actually calling for the formulation and implementation of CED policies and initiatives which empower the residents of working-class communities, lower income communities, communities of color. The need is for policies which promote social equity (instead of rule by the rich) and reflect respect for the interests (and futures), as well as needs, of existing community members. Within the SISDS paradigm, “gentrification” and “urban renewal (removal)” are replaced by CED projects which model economic and environmental justice. SISDS CED projects will seek to circulate, re-cycle and sustain dollars, energy and human resources within and among underserved communities. To accomplish this, our approach to development must be path-breaking and a genuine alternative to “capitalist business as usual”.

The SISDS community economic development (CED) paradigm:

  • Will utilize inclusive, “inside out”; comprehensive planning and development processes, which shift the power for goal setting and decision making to community residents and local businesses, and away from powerful outside corporate interests.
  • Will promote human scale development / redevelopment.
  • Reframes the “redevelopment process” to focus on retaining current community members, stabilizing not displacing them; rejuvenating communities, not removing them.
  • Will support the creation of wealth resources for low and moderate income neighborhoods and residents as well as small & medium-sized businesses.
  • Prioritizes the creation of affordable housing and sustainable green collar economy jobs. In doing so, we will reverse exploitative and racist economic practices in finance, lending and hiring which are still pervasive throughout NYS and the US.

Specific SISDS CED strategies include:

  • Expanding the opportunities for CBOs, arts & cultural institutions, as well as Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian and women-owned businesses to participate as “project principals”.
  • Supporting the creation of cooperatively-owned enterprises (worker-owned businesses, community development credit unions) and housing.
  • Supporting the sustainable (re-) use of selected, publicly owned land parcels for urban agriculture projects.
  • Supporting the sustainable use of selected, publicly owned real estate for creation of solar energy and other green collar industry projects.
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