Vision for a Progressive 'Ownership Society'

Communities and cities can benefit from a more communal and equitable approach to "ownership", argues Gar Alperovitz, one that embraces cooperatives, land trusts and non-profit neighborhood corporations.

"There are...sophisticated and highly developed community-benefitting ownership strategies available at the local level. For instance, some 4,000 to 6,000 nonprofit neighborhood corporations now regularly invest in—and own—housing and businesses and provide other services on behalf of communities throughout the United States. In Newark, N.J., one such corporation—New Communities, Inc.—generates $50 million in economic activity each year, employs more than 1,600 people and uses its ownership position to leverage other community services.

"Still another strategy operating just below the level of media concern involves cities becoming owners of productive and profitable enterprises which make money, produce new revenues and help the local economy in a variety of other ways. Enterprises range from hotels and large-scale city-owned real estate projects (especially in connection with transit development) to cable television, Internet and other services. And, of course, there are some 2,000 public utilities operating at the local level. Many efforts have proven so effective that even Republican mayors have begun to back new municipal enterprise strategies."

Thanks to Michael Dudley

Full Story: A Real Ownership Society

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