Recommendations for Building a New Model for Community-Centered Development

Invest in People

  • Leadership development—both inside organizations and outside in the community, such as members and resident leaders—is core to building the confidence and expertise to move a program and campaign.
  • Organize, organize, organize! We must empower residents to want and achieve greater access to the development decisions that affect their everyday lives. 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 covered are intended to set your communities on a trajectory for building power in cities and having a movement that continues beyond its first victory. 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, especially for projects receiving public subsidies, that provide the community with opportunities to learn about and engage in decisions made about publicly owned land and publicly subsidized developments 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 protect workers, create good jobs and affordable housing, address environmental mitigation, 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.