Over the last several years, many Richmond community leaders have coalesced around a vision for community-governed and community-owned development. Initially catalyzed by the campaign to ensure that UC Berkeley’s planned Richmond campus reflects this vision, several partners continued to work in collaboration over the last year to design an organization that would be a vehicle for community-governed and owned development. The campus plans have gone dormant, but the vision, momentum, and need for a new structure for development remains.
The model initially developed was articulated in their report, “Structuring Development for Greater Community Opportunity.” Central to the approach is the creation of a Community-owned Development Enterprise (CDE) that has a community benefits mission, majority community leaders on its board, and the technical, legal, and financial capacity to design and carry out development projects. Most existing non-profit developers work on affordable housing projects, whereas ours would carry out commercial, educational, and public facilities projects. There are a few examples of entities that share attributes of the Richmond model, such as East Baltimore Development, Inc., Push Buffalo, and the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative. Creating such entities provides a way for moving money out of the extractive economy and into enterprises rooted in community needs, ecology and economic justice.