Mon 18 Feb 2019 2:27PM

Community Wealth Building Expertise in/for California Town?

BC Bruce Caron Public Seen by 128

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.


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".



Bruce Caron Tue 19 Feb 2019 2:29PM

Thanks John!


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!


Bruce Caron Tue 19 Feb 2019 2:30PM

RCDE looks a lot like what we need. Thanks.


Stacco Troncoso Tue 19 Feb 2019 11:24AM

Hi Bruce,
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

Thanks Stacco!


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.

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