Living in the Buffer

Preventing the development of new affordable housing in close proximity to freeways isn’t a just solution to the health effects of LA’s air pollution.

Miriam Axel-Lute, the editor of Shelterforce magazine, drinks from a white mug as she stares out to the left. She is wearing glasses and sitting next to a window.

Many Goals, One Field

What is a CDC? Many a meeting among those in the field has descended into argument about what is inside and outside the line. It was inevitable that in designing a focus issue on the “CDC model” that we would be asked to examine that question as well. After all, if we’re going to have […]

Let’s Hear From the Field

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, edited by Nancy O. Andrews and David J. Erickson. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Low Income Investment Fund, 2012, 419 pp. Free ebook.

What Is Community Development?

Over the following pages, our authors explore many aspects of the community development field, and especially the role of community development corporations in it. But we know you have opinions too. To set the stage, last year we invited our readers to take a survey about how they understood the community development field and community development corporations. The survey was promoted through our weekly newsletter and social media. We got about a hundred responses.

Community Development Corporations at a Crossroads

For nearly half a century, community development corporations (CDCs) have been a tool of choice for organizing and implementing grassroots economic development programs. Emerging in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, CDCs represented a more human scale approach to redevelopment of neglected, mostly minority, inner-city neighborhoods than the “urban redevelopment” programs they replaced. By […]

Scale, Schmale. What About Impact?

If you think what’s wrong with CDCs today is their failure to “go to scale,” you are looking in the fundamentally wrong direction, asking the wrong questions. While I do believe it’s essential for CDCs to be well capitalized and capable of transacting real estate business to be effective, I also believe that a CDC’s […]

In the center are blue doors that are surrounded by orange, white, and brown pieces of metal-looking material. This is what a warehouse looks like in a Mumbai slum.

What Mumbai’s Slums Do Right, And Why We Should Emulate Them

Sometimes to understand our own cities and community development practices it is helpful to understand a radically different setting. In the slums of Mumbai one thing is immediately evident: the Indian understanding of “slum” and the American one are radically different. Unlike the hyperghettos of the United States — spaces that are depopulated, run down, […]

Neighborhoods or Regions? A Trick Question

There is a narrative out there about how much of community development has lost its soul — community development has become too much about Development and not enough about Community, too concerned with efficient production of affordable housing and not concerned enough about social change, not engaged enough in creating a more caring, more connected, […]

The Changing Model of CDCs

Staying relevant in a changing economy will push CDCs to place importance on green initiatives, sustainability, and out-of-the box funding methods.

CDCs Adapt to the New Normal

CDCs and their support organizations consider what it takes to weather the recession—from business model changes to different funding streams to mergers.

A four story building on the left, an empty street on the right.

Growing a Stronger Nonprofit Housing Sector

High-capacity nonprofit housing enterprises that can achieve efficiencies of scale have an important role to play in addressing the affordable housing crisis and policy makers should help them do so.

Stuck in the Middle

What do community development intermediaries do these days, and why do we need them?

The Value of the Local Touch

Last November, we surveyed readers about what they thought the rise of high-capacity nonprofit housing developers meant for neighborhood-based community developers that use real estate as a tool in their work. Specifically we asked if these groups should be leaving housing development to the bigger guys and taking on other types of projects. We found […]