Call for Submissions from Progressive City: Planning for Community Economic Development

The COVID pandemic has highlighted and aggravated the precarious nature of work and the social-spatial inequities of service and public goods provision, with marginalized populations bearing the brunt of the crisis. At the same time, it has prompted greater interest in the solidarity economy and mutual aid responses, and it has prompted new calls to expand the role of government and public policy in supporting socially and environmentally just economic alternatives.

‘Community Economic Development’ provides one avenue to promote such economic alternatives, as it places communities at the center of economic decision-making, management and ownership and emphasizes the inter-connection of the economic with the social and environmental. Yet, to date, mainstream economic development policies – i.e those which focus on luring private capital to generate more jobs and income – have been privileged within planning practice. Less consideration has been placed on the quality of the job or how income is distributed.

At the same time, critics of “Community Economic Development” have charged that its practitioners have failed to grapple with several long-standing problems, including the undemocratic and unaccountable nature of many non-profit community development projects, the limits of local responses to national and international economic and political problems, the role of exclusion in many communities’ vision of themselves and their futures, and the replication of exploitive practices (like evictions or union busting) in ostensibly community-oriented economic systems.

This raises critical questions on how we might challenge prevailing paradigms. How can we plan for decent work, an equitable distribution of (collectively produced) wealth, and the provision of collective goods and services? How can we promote community-based initiatives that contest capitalist models and the colonial and racist legacies of ‘wealth creation’?

For this call, we are seeking short submissions (roughly 1000 words) for our online magazine, Progressive City: Radical Alternatives on the theme of ‘Planning for Community Economic Development’. Contributions can reflect on this theme in relation to a range of initiatives, such as cooperatives, alternative forms of collective land ownership and stewardship, mutual aid networks and worker advocacy/training organizations.

The submissions should be written in an accessible (jargon-free) manner. A few suggested readings may be mentioned in the text (hyper-links to references are encouraged), but please do not submit footnotes. We encourage the submission of a photograph or illustration (with appropriate permissions). Please note that while we work with authors to help them fit the Progressive City style, format, and themes, we cannot accept all articles that have been submitted.

Deadline to submit: March 25, 2022. Submissions are accepted via email at info@progressivecity.net; please share the call in your networks.

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