Community Wealth Building Expertise in/for California Town?
A group of us are looking to engage in an ongoing conversation about how to remold our downtown during the collapse of retail. We'd like to get more community wealth building ideas into the mix (instead of just feeding new revenue to private building owners). It would be great to get some real expertise about this transition. Any suggestions? We can pay for travel and treat them well.
Jay Cumberland Mon 18 Feb 2019 6:09PM
Hey Bruce, another group trying to do this in California is the Richmond Community-Owned Development Enterprise (RCDE). You can find info about them at this link: https://haasinstitute.berkeley.edu/richmonds-community-owned-development-enterprise-cde. Their board members would probably be happy to talk with you. They might also connect you with other organizations like Push Buffalo, East Baltimore Development, Inc., and NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative. I'm an intern at the Sustainable Economies Law Center; I don't know if the Law Center would be able to have a conversation connecting you with relevant local groups, but it might be worth a shot. It's best to e-mail an individual staff member (like Chris Tittle: [email protected]). Good luck!
Stacco Troncoso Tue 19 Feb 2019 11:24AM
Although mainly focused at individual, this article we wrote may offer a few pointers:
How can I take part in the Commons Transition
The website it is contained in is our basic "introductory course" to P2P/Commons thinking and it can inspire some ideas for your community.
Bruce Caron Tue 19 Feb 2019 2:34PM
So, Thomas Hanna was in town last night. Had a great conversation about converting abandoned retail into community wealth-building enterprises: https://democracycollaborative.org/content/thomas-hanna
Jerry Michalski Thu 28 Feb 2019 6:13AM
I've been curating city revitalization initiatives from around the world for some time. You can peruse them in my Brain, here: https://bra.in/9pKErj That's likely to be a little puzzling, so I'm happy to offer a tour in Zoom or such.
Danyl Strype Tue 5 Mar 2019 11:22AM
There are a number of cities in Aotearoa (NZ) where groups have been helping art projects, community groups, and social enterprises get access to disused commercial spaces (esp. retail shopfronts), for both temporary, experimental projects and longer term use. One examples is Wellington's Urban Dream Brokerage, who folded last year, but their site still has case studies and documentation (CC-licensed) about how they worked (also check out this interview). A number of groups were doing stuff like this in Ōtautahi (Christchurch) post-earthquake, including Gapfiller, Greening the Rubble, and Life in Vacant Spaces. I believe the Ministry of Awesome came out of some of this work.
I did some work along these lines in various parts of the country in the early 2000s , some of it as part of my work with Aotearoa Indymedia. I had more of an activist and independent media/ arts focus than an economic/ business focus. But it was important to me to experiment with models for making the projects self-funding (mainly tithing of money and /or volunteer work by regular users), so they weren't held hostage to the vagaries of public funding (governmental or philanthropic) or business sponsorship.
My wife and I have extensive experience in community-led development, both from practice and research (my wife did her PhD in economic anthropology). If you can afford to bring folks from further afield, we'd love to come to California to give some talks and run some workshops (we're based in China). My contact details can be found on my wiki.
Danyl Strype Tue 5 Mar 2019 11:38AM
@bcaron you may also be interested in some of this discussion in the Open App Ecosystem group about using free code software to involve citizens in city governance and development.
Graham Tue 5 Mar 2019 3:51PM
The work already mentioned in this thread in Preston, that has over the last 7 or 8 years brought over £200M of spending back into the local region where it was previously being spent elsewhere, is in its turn inspired in part by the Evergreen Cooperatives project in Cleveland. In the UK a good source of information about what community wealth building is and how to go about it has been developed by CLES (the Centre for Local Economic Strategies) and is available on their website: https://cles.org.uk
CLES appear to be having a lot of success currently. Local government in the UK is under a good deal of pressure currently as central government funding to local govt has been severely reduced since the 2008 crash as part of the right wing austerity programme that is squeezing the life out of local communities across the country. The CLES approach is in part about leveraging the purchasing power of big local anchor institutions to relocalise procurement and also promote cooperative business solutions to fill supply chain gaps that pop up as a result. So they are working very much at that local government level. The Barcelona city administration is also doing great work led by their inspirational mayor Ada Colau.
Also very much worth your attention is Co-operation Jackson (https://cooperationjackson.org)
John Ingleby · Mon 18 Feb 2019 5:10PM
Preston used to be a run-down town in the North West of England. It's now known for it's regeneration programme called "the Preston model".