Every community has an economy. People, businesses, institutions, architecture, arts and culture are what distinguish one community from another and contribute to the vitality of a community’s economy. The Community Economics Project offers a constructive and collective approach to building a better economy for everyone.

The goal of the Community Economics Project is to build local capacity to reverse the decline in neighborhood conditions and create communities of opportunity. The project is designed to catalyze a movement that will restore economic vibrancy to distressed communities through the dissemination of best practices and ideas steeped in collective action, community engagement, buy local campaigns, entrepreneurship, safety, arts, culture and advocacy.

There are two essential and mutually reinforcing components to this project: theory and practice. Everyone is encouraged to learn more about the methodology and ideas behind neighborhood placemaking and economic revitalization through the publications, workshops, forums, and other resources listed below. But in order to see results, these concepts must be adapted, applied and embraced by residents and other stakeholders. The Community Economics Project offers everyone an opportunity to make a difference through conscientious and collective engagement.

Read some frequently asked questions about the Community Economics Project (pdf, 111 kb)

Publications and Resources

Strengthening Economic Development
Community Development Investment Review, Volume 10, Issue 2, 2014: Creative Placemaking

Measuring the Economic and Social Impacts of Cultural Organizations
Community Development Investment Review, Volume 10, Issue 2, 2014: Creative Placemaking

You Have to Scale Down Before You Can Scale Up: A Micro-Enterprise Story

Community Investments: Volume 25, Issue 2, 2013

Revitalizing Inner-City Neighborhood Business Districts
Presentation from St. Louis Fed convening: Neighborhood Revitalization and the Business District (2011)

Collective Action for a Vibrant Local Economy

Retail Trade as a Route to Neighborhood Revitalization

External Resources

Larisa Ortiz Associates
Sustainable Business Alliance
Good Local Money Guide
Pop Up Hood

Social Enterprise Alliance: Building an Economy on Purpose
Uptima Business Bootcamp
Oakland Business Development Center


Overcoming Barriers to Small Business Lending
April 5, 2016
Salinas, CA

2016 Work Local Awards
April 29, 2016
Oakland, CA