New Haven: Call for Inclusive Prosperity

March 30, 2012 -- Partnership for Working Families

Investment Fuels New Haven's Urban Renewal 

In recent years, New Haven has experienced a “renaissance” fueled by billions in public and private investment, aimed at attracting new affluent people and businesses, yielding high-end downtown development and the expansion of the education, research and medical sectors. This growth generates wealth for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and defense industries.

Not All Benefit, Exposing Inequity and Segregation

However, not enough of that wealth stays in New Haven, where neighborhoods have not recovered from the thirty-year exodus of manufacturing jobs.  As the city and its development partners focus on attracting new affluent residents and businesses, many of the families who already live here are struggling with unemployment, insufficient wages and rising housing costs. New Haven’s simultaneous stories of “renaissance” and struggle point to the history and the persistence of inequality and segregation in a city of wealth and prominence.
 
Report Offers New Policy Strategies for Civic Leaders

In December, the Connecticut Center for a New Economy (CCNE) released a report documenting the changes and higlighting policy solutions for civic leaders.  

A Renaissance for All of Us: Building an Inclusive Prosperity for New Haven
was released on the heels of a large community meeting held convened by CCNE at the end of 2011. Hundreds came together to participate in small group discussions to share ideas and inform the agenda and priorities for the city in the coming year.

The report used three particular local stories to illustrate both the problems and potential solutions in the struggle for a fair and sustainable economy in New Haven: the redevelopment of the Church Street South public housing site; the expansion of Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale’s medical area; and the redevelopment of the former Winchester Repeating Arms site. Using these personal stories and analysis of state and local data, the report outlines concrete policy solutions from the grassroots.

New Hope for New Haven

Change in the region is drawing attention.  Paul Bass wrote in the February edition of the Nation a feature story examining the power shifts taking place in New Haven.   The story underscores the powerful alliance and role of CCNE as well as the intersection of community-based organizers, union leaders and faith-based advocates in working together to advance a shared vision .