Addressing the Persistence of Jim Crow in Urban Planning: Strategies for communities to negotiate equitable community benefit agreements
This is the short-form product of my current research project. I’m currently circulating this essay for comment and possible publication. Below is the abstract and a link to a pdf version of the current draft.
State sponsored economic barriers prevented Black Americans from building home equity following the post-World War II economic boon. While many of those historic barriers have been eliminated, new, more subtle barriers continue to be placed in front of communities of color. Thought leaders, from both academic and professional ranks, have called for social equity and the distribution of economic benefits be considered during planning processes – with community benefit agreements the mechanism of choice to deliver these benefits. In this case study, the information exchange between the City of Sacramento, the University of California, Davis, and a historic Black community during development of a $1.6 billion university expansion project is analyzed along with the proposed distribution of shareable economic benefits from the project. The study found that only 60% of the $83 million in potential shareable economic benefits from the first phase of the project were disclosed to the community, and just 12.5% of all potential shareable benefits were included in a community benefit agreement. Strategies and tactics are offered to address issues with the information exchange between proponents and communities and to strengthen the negotiating position of communities of color when working with project developers on community benefit agreements.