The Bottom Line: When Communities Own Spaces for Business

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Download this ebook for stories about the promise of community-owned commercial real estate.

Since 2015, Oscar Perry Abello has been covering the economic justice beat. The stories in this ebook focus on his recent community owned commercial real estate reporting.

After the nearly 1,500 interviews and countless more background and off-the-record conversations Abello has done over the years, he has learned that simply bringing money into places where it hasn’t been before or hasn’t been in a long time, doesn’t replace what historically marginalized communities have lost. “It’s not a matter of magnitude either — though some places definitely need more resources than others,” Abello, Next City’s senior economic justice correspondent, writes in his introduction.

These stories reveal what historical forces like white supremacy and colonialism took away from Black, Latino, immigrant and Indigenous communities. It includes money and wealth — but also a “communal sense of self-determination, the feeling that you and people who look or talk like you are more than a pawn in the game of finance, real estate, power or history. In a word: agency,” Abello writes.

“Community-ownership of real estate, including commercial real estate, is one of the most powerful and perhaps the most obvious way for communities to take back some agency over their neighborhoods.” 

This ebook includes a variety of models to borrow from and implement in communities across the country.

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