What is Community Wealth Building today?
This is part 2 in a series about our quest for an Amsterdam approach to Community Wealth Building. Read the other texts here.
Community Wealth Building is an umbrella term for a range of strategies to democratise the local economy. It is about the power of small companies as opposed to large multinationals. About cooperative banks as opposed to large financial institutions, about decent working conditions as opposed to precarity and flex jobs. About collective land ownership as opposed to land barons. And about new economic models, beyond the outmoded concepts of ‘the market’ and ‘the state’.
A Community Wealth Building trajectory generally starts with a district analysis, mapping capital flows and pinpointing value leakages and opportunities. The concept of ‘anchor institutions’ is central: a hospital or housing corporation as a pillar of a neighbourhood or city. Such an anchor of the local economy may function as a catalyst by hiring local people instead of people living far away, by buying local and by participating in the community.
These strategies have been implemented in Cleveland in the American state of Ohio, and in Preston, UK. This is why this is also known as the ‘Cleveland model’ or the ‘Preston model’. But Community Wealth Building is happening in many other places, including in Manchester and Birmingham, and in San Diego and Atlanta. A number of American examples can be found here and English examples have been collected here.
Last year, we wrote an extensive piece The Value of the City (de Waarde van de Stad).