WILLIAMSON and ALPEROVITZ: Community Stability and the Challenge of Climate Change

May 3, 2010
Thad Williamson and Gar Alperovitz

Re-shaping our metropolitan areas for a low-carbon footprint over the next 40 years will require a comprehensive strategy to stabilize the economic basis of American cities. We must break with the past not only with respect to energy use and transportation, but also with the way we treat cities as disposable items that can be abandoned when market conditions change. A community that is not economically sustainable cannot be ecologically sustainable. But a community that is at the mercy of the investment decisions made by corporations concerned only with their bottom line can neither be certain of its economic future nor self-confident enough to undertake aggressive sustainability initiatives at the local level. ... Stable, community-anchoring jobs are those which cannot be easily relocated and moved. The most obvious examples of such jobs are those provided by universities, hospitals, and government operations. Other examples include firms that rely heavily on government contracts. Finally, there are locally owned and controlled business forms that are inherently anchored to their localities such as employee-owned firms, local public enterprise, and businesses owned by community organizations and other nonprofits with deep ties to the community. Cities with a large proportion of jobs in these sectors will be more stable over time and will have a politics less oriented towards accommodating the demands of private corporations. Read the full report here...

Additional Information: 

Community-Wealth.org, a project of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland.