Southern Equitable Development


The Partnership is excited to announce the release of new publication focused on building leaders and coalitions in the South. Invest, Democratize, Organize: Lessons on building more equitable cities from Nashville and Raleigh-Durham provides tools and resources for groups that are building progressive power and advocating for equitable local development against the backdrop of structural racism and entrenched political opposition existing in many regions of the South. After summarizing existing strategies and case studies, we provide a checklist and guidelines for establishing and moving a successful coalition. This publication was done in collaboration with Estolano LeSar Advisors with generous support from the Open Society Foundation.  

Recommendations for Building a New Model for Community-Centered Development :

Invest in People

Leadership development inside organizations and outside in the community with members and resident leaders is critical to building the confidence and expertise necessary to move a program and campaign.

Organize, organize, organize! We must empower residents to expect and want greater access into the development decisions that affect their lives and communities. Building a coalition that represents diverse stakeholders and approaches is crucial. A campaign is only as strong as the people it reaches, beyond boardrooms and council chambers.

Build power for the long haul, not just short-term solutions. The tools and strategies we cover are intended to set your communities on a trajectory for building power in our cities beyond just one victory. These tools are about sustaining a movement. There will be losses and struggles in the process.

Democratize Development in Our Cities


Build statewide advocacy to ensure cities have all the policymaking tools at their disposal to alleviate crises, respond to the needs of their residents, and create innovative policies that address displacement, unemployment, low wages, and other issues.


Adopt transparency and accountability policies that provide the community with opportunities to learn about and engage in decision making about publicly owned land  and publicly subsidized projects in their neighborhoods that will affect their health and well-being.


Empower communities with the tools and leverage to ensure that development creates benefits that improve job quality, create jobs and affordable housing, mitigate environmental impacts, and identify other strategies to navigate state interference.

Enlist elected leaders and local government staff as partners in developing solutions and in navigating state interference where possible.

#organizethesouth #equitabledevelopment #wemakethiscity