This week in community development: 5/16/14

Every week, Praxia Partners shares important community-building news. Check out what we’ve been reading this week.

Building communities

  • home in handsLast week, we ran a special edition of our Friday new round-up devoted to how cities are coping the wake of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. This week, we read more about Richmond’s high number of homes that are “underwater,” meaning that homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth in the market. The city ranks 66 out of 100 cities with the highest percentages of homeowners struggling with underwater mortgages– 28%, in Richmond’s case. Hartford, Connecticut is #1, with a whopping 56% of its homes underwater. From the article: “While economists have noted that home prices have been bouncing back since the housing crisis, that isn’t true for many jurisdictions, according to Saqib Bhatti, one of the report’s authors. He noted many of the cities on the 100 list had significant low-income or minority populations.” Read the report from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley. (Richmond Standard)
  • The Wall Street Journal look at New York City’s PS 109, an affordable housing community dedicated to artists and their families. PS 109 is part of the Artspace movement. From the article: “We’re big fans of the project,” said George Sarkissian, district manager of Community Board 11, which serves East Harlem. “It provides affordable housing to the most vulnerable to displacement, and it provides a place for artists and for our culture to be preserved.” (Note: log in required)
  • Shelterforce features an interview with the Ford Foundation’s President Darren Walker. He notes:

The barriers to advancement for low-income people in communities are multilayered and multifaceted, and there is no quick fix or silver bullet to solving those issues. […] There are neighborhood economies, but neighborhood economies are subsidiary ecologies of broader regional economic equality and inequality. That has required a more holistic approach, which is why people and place and policy become so important, because formal and often informal policies are not made at the neighborhood level. Neighborhoods are dealing with broader forces around policy that wash into their community and have one impact or another. For the community development movement to align itself with those regional forces and those regional actors has been something we’ve supported here, and will continue to be an important part of our work. That doesn’t mean that neighborhoods don’t matter anymore. Neighborhoods are the unit of analysis, ultimately, because at the end of the day, that’s the way people live their lives.

Economic opportunity and development

  • Fast food strikes are going global. (CNN Money)
  • Will millennials make impact investing the norm? (Stanford Social Impact Review)
  • ProPublica tracked regulations and protections for temporary workers across the globe. The United States and Canada have some of the fewest protections in place for temps.
  • Climate change will drastically change the face of American agriculture. Check out charts care of Mother Jones and the National Climate Assessment.

Equity and inclusion

  • Marriage equality continues to progress. Same-sex marriage has been temporarily delayed in Idaho, but U.S. District Magistrate Candy Wagahoff Dale’s ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex is marriage is unconstitutional represents a national shift in favor of marriage equality. This is reflected both in legal rulings and public opinion. (The Advocate)
  • Cochlear implants complicate the concept of deaf identity. (The Atlantic)

Environmental stewardship

What do you think was the most important community development story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about solar power and sustainability, visit Community Renewable Energy’s blog.

About Holly

Holly Jensen is a writer and poet who has worked with nonprofits and businesses for over a decade. She also serves as editor of The Ghazal Page, an international literary journal.
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