Economic Development

Economic activity is a crucial part of a healthy community, whether it’s access to quality jobs for residents, business support, or a functioning, diverse range of retail options.

A rendering of what Port Covington would look like once the decades-long project is completed.

Which Community Benefits Agreements Really Delivered?

Are the neighborhoods impacted by large development getting the jobs and affordable housing they were promised? Shelterforce looks back at several cities where community benefits agreements were won to find out where those agreements now stand.

How CDFIs are Helping Small Businesses Create Good Jobs

Community development financial institutions lend to micro- and small-business owners, but the jobs those businesses create are often minimum wage, part time, or otherwise low quality. What makes a job a good job, and what are CDFIs doing to help small-business borrowers create good jobs?

Don’t Go Back to Old Economic Development Ways

Cities have led the way in enacting equity-focused pandemic policies. It’s time to build on that momentum, starting with neighborhoods.

Fighting for Their Hometown in The Place That Makes Us

A review of the 2020 documentary, The Place That Makes Us, directed by Karla Murthy. 70 minutes.

Despite a Rocky Start, Cleveland Model for Worker Co-ops Stands Test of Time

Even during tough times, the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative has added new co-ops, new workers, and new strategies.

Why the Community Reinvestment Act Must Be Expanded Broadly Throughout the Financial Industry

The financial industry has been one of the main perpetrators of racial discrimination. It should be obligated to serve all communities, particularly communities of color.

Why Do Low-Income Residents Oppose Development Even When Displacement Risk Is Low?

There’s more than one way to be excluded from your community.
small business close

Help for Small Businesses

What kinds of emergency measures are advocacy organizations proposing to make sure that when small businesses can open again, they’ll be financially able to do so?
rural cooperative

We Need a Rural New Deal

COVID-19 is a combined health and economic crisis poised to further devastate rural communities already suffering severe economic stress. Already, rural health care systems...

Small Numbers, Great Expectations: A Case for Rural Investment

“Drop dead” wasn’t an acceptable answer to urban decay in the 1970s. And it isn’t the right answer for struggling rural areas today.

Improving CRA for Rural America

The Community Reinvestment Act regulations should be recrafted to incentivize investments in underserved and economically distressed communities, many of which are rural.
aerial view of construction worker sawing board

How Successful is Your County in Accessing Community Development Funding?

some communities in the United States seem much better than others at attracting grants and financing for community development—even after adjusting for their relative needs. Here are some of the surprising trends:
view from street of empty bakery

Is Success Making CDFIs Too Risk-Averse?

Shelterforce's Miriam Axel-Lute in conversation with Ed Gorman of NCRC on whether community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are taking enough risk, and therefore, falling short of their mission.
person holding Amazon delivery box

Lessons for the U.S.: How the EU Controls Bidding Wars for Jobs and Investment

The European Union’s rules on subsidies limit bidding wars, and make the level of incentives we have seen for Amazon, Foxconn, and other companies completely impossible.
B. Ruppe drugstore in the Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque, NM

Regenerating a Place of Cultural Pride and Healing in Albuquerque’s Barelas Neighborhood

Restoring a community's culturally significant site in Albuquerque to be a true economic resource as well as a source of healing.
opportunity zones construction

Pushing Opportunity Zones to Fulfill Their Promise

Some guidelines to ensure that Opportunity Zones are transformational and not transactional.
bright sunlight on city street

The CFPB Needs Sunlight: Keep Easy Access to HMDA Data

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's reassurances on continued public access to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data are not very reassuring.
remix graffiti

Can We Ditch Tax Incentives and Support True Economic Development?

Because recent advocacy has succeeded in achieving a change in government accounting standards that led many cities and states to disclose the total costs of the tax abatements they provided last year for the very first time, we now are gaining a better sense of just how much these abatements take away from education and other public services.
Woman construction worker carrying wood

The Paradox of Prevailing Wage

The complicated relationship between the Davis-Bacon Act, Black construction workers, and Black-owned construction businesses in Boston.
The cover of Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institution Movement by Clifford N. Rosenthal, Friesen Press

Tracing the Roots of CDFIs: A review of Democratizing Finance

This book is a major contribution to increasing knowledge and awareness of how far the community development finance movement has come in 30 years.