It's High Time for a Community-Led Economic Recovery

Past recoveries have only exacerbated structural inequalities. The recovery from the current economic and social crises can't afford to make the mistakes, according to a recent paper from researchers at the Brookings Institution.

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 17, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


South Los Angeles

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

A new paper by Hanna Love, Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, and Jennifer S. Vey argues for a community-led action plan to address structural inequity during COVID-19 recovery.

"This paper argues that without economic recovery in communities facing disproportionate structural harm, there can be no real recovery at all. For our cities, regions, and nation as a whole to emerge stronger from this crisis, we must not only address the symptoms of disinvestment that COVID-19 has magnified, but holistically tackle their systemic root causes through locally empowering community investment." 

To further those ambitious goals, the paper offers "guidance for community, city, and regional leaders to work across multiple levels of governance and policy domains—bridging community, economic, and workforce development efforts, among others—to advance community-led recovery strategies that address persistent structural inequities and expand community wealth and opportunity over the long term."

Past recoveries have only exacerbated inequality, according to the paper (a point made recently in an opinion piece about the consequences of the real estate crash and fiscal crisis of the Great Recession, when private equity firms and other Wall Street money bought up distressed real estate assets all over the country). The shortfalls of previous recovery efforts, according to the paper, can be traced to the disconnect between policy makers and community members. 

"True economic recovery demands a more integrated, community-led, place- and people-centered approach—one designed to build upon community strengths and break down the structural inequities that have left communities like South LA disconnected and disenfranchised for far too long," write the authors of the paper. 

Specific actions to implement a community-led approach to economic recovery follow in the source article.

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