Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

Portfolio Tag policy

The Past, Present, and Future of Community Development in the United States

For more than a century, American reformers have struggled to remedy the problems of poverty in the places where low-income people live. At first, these social improvers could muster only a few isolated solutions, but by the end of the twentieth century, they had expanded their effort…

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Fighting Poverty through Community Development

The Great Recession forced families and communities to confront the worst economic collapse most of us had seen in our lifetimes. When President Obama took office, the economy was shedding 750,000 jobs per month, and foreclosures were rising to record levels. Since then, the economy h…

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Getting to Scale: The Need for a New Model in Housing and Community Development

Housing is a key component in the history of community development. Although there are many calls to focus on other important aspects of building sustainable communities, providing quality, affordable housing is still a crucial part of the equation. For children to be able to learn, f…

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Transit-Oriented Development Is Good Community Development

The steady dispersion of people and jobs across core cities, suburbs, and exurbs has contributed to more fragmented lifestyles, with people often living in one neighborhood, working in another, and shopping and recreating in another. There are myriad reasons for this fragmentation of …

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Deep Democracy Is Not Meetings that Last Forever: Community Development Next

Community development has long been part industry, part social movement. At its core is an idea that American educator and philosopher John Dewey would have recognized but that many of today’s activists, entrepreneurs, and change agents sadly do not. It is the idea of deep democracy. …

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Rules, Not Resources

Community development policy, at least at the federal level, has continued to approach poverty as if it were the result of a lack of resources: if communities are poor, give them income, and if infrastructure is lacking, have higher levels of government fund more of it. Here, by contr…

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Early Childhood Development: Creating Healthy Communities with Greater Efficiency and Effectiveness

Healthy communities are catalysts for personal health and economic success. Creating healthy communities by transforming disadvantaged ones, is an enormous challenge. Possible solutions are myriad. Or so it seems. Thanks to developmental, social, and economic science, we know more tha…

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About The Project

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a joint project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund.

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The views expressed in this book and on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Federal Reserve System, or the Low Income Investment Fund.

Tell Us What Works

The ideas in Investing in What Works for America’s Communities are just a start. We want to hear about what’s working in your community. Tell us about innovative ideas for addressing poverty and share examples of people and places that inspire you. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Tell Us What Works

Funding for this project was generously provided to the Low Income Investment Fund by the Citi Foundation.