This article was adapted from our latest book, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” Download your free pdf copy today.

New urban real estate developments often benefit investors and the affluent while providing few benefits for local residents of modest means. In fact, they often drive the poorest out of their own communities while providing few or no funds for urgent investments in public infrastructure.

To address these issues, an urban authority includes certain conditions into its contracts with real estate developers. The developers must make certain investments that contribute to the local community and adhere to labor and other practices designed to ensure that local working people benefit substantially from the policy. This makes funding available for public parks, affordable housing, schools, child care, or other needs, depending on a community’s priorities.

This approach was pioneered by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). It was used when a new sports stadium was built and the LAX airport was expanded. The latter agreement secured $500 million in job training and environmental benefits for affected residents and has helped create safer schools and neighborhoods for hundreds of thousands of local residents.

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Header image by Viviana Rishe via Unsplash

Wolfgang Wiltrude Hoeschele


Wolfgang Wiltrude Hoeschele

Born in Germany and having grown up in Thailand, Korea, and Greece, Wolfgang Wiltrude Hoeschele pursued his higher education in the US, culminating in a doctorate in geography

Things I share: Knowledge, insights, books, bike riding, gardening in a community garden