Global Communities and society, Economy and regeneration, Housing and planning

Community Wealth Building: Case studies and resources for local government


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Curated case studies and news from around the globe highlighting some of the innovative ways municipalities are adopting Community Wealth Building approaches, plus the best and most practical reports on the topic. Examples this week come from Norway, Germany and the U.S.

Have your own example to share, get in touch!

Policy innovation and inspiration examples from the local government sector

Norway: Public procurement to reach zero emissions by 2030
As part of the European Commission’s Big Buyers Working Together project, the City of Oslo is utilising public procurement to ensure it only uses zero-emissions technologies by 2030. The scheme sets out to bring public buyers together to pool local resources and influence the market to become more socially and environmentally friendly. The city will engage the market to better understand what technologies are available across environmental services, zero-emission construction sites, circular construction, solar panelling, mobility, and healthcare efficiency, among others.

USA: Pioneering community land trust creates permanently affordable housing
, Virginia, is home to the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, which features a pioneering lease-to-own program. Since its inception, the trust has sold 89 homes to income-eligible homebuyers, alongside other properties available via contract, as part of a mission to develop and steward permanently affordable housing to create racially equitable communities. Yet the MWCLT isn’t just a land trust, also serving as a housing developer and land bank, and acting as the first land bank and land trust in the USA. As a land bank, the trust acquires and manages vacant and tax-delinquent properties, repurposing them for community needs. By Autumn, the trust hopes to have developed 100 homes in under a decade.
Reasons to be cheerful

USA: Cash discounts for shopping at locally-owned businesses offered through app trial in Boston
The B-Local app launched in the City of Boston in 2021 as a municipal pilot to intentivise shopping and business at neighbourhood stores, restaurants and outlets. The free app sees users link their cards to use at participating shops and eateries, earning “Boston Points” in the process. These Boston Points can then be redeemed for discounts on future purchases. The trial saw some 269 businesses participate across the city, including 185 minority and immigrant-owned businesses and 143 woman-owned businesses.

Germany: “Re-municipalising” Hamburg’s electricity and heating networks
In September 2013, 51% of the City of Hamburg’s local electorate voted to “re-municipalise” the city’s district heating and electricity networks, following a grassroots initiative entitled “Our Hamburg Our Grid.” In turn, the city bought back crucial energy infrastructure and has seen good profits from public infrastructure. Now, with the grid in public hands following a £545 million deal, local politicians can propose initiatives that would previously have been unthinkable, including the use of Hamburg’s inland port as a renewable energy generator.
CLES / The Guardian

Resources to help you develop community wealth

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Report: This must be the place: a new vision for community wealth and power
This LGIU project, with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, has been exploring the potential to create stable local economies that support strong social and environmental outcomes without economic growth. The report demonstrates how local authorities can play an active role in building a new approach to economic development, taking into account some of the big challenges that manifest in different areas.

Report: Rewiring local economies: Community wealth building for a just transition
Arguing that the origins, missions and visions of a just transition and community wealth building are complimentary, but that these links have gone relatively unexplored in Scotland, this report by Future Economy Scotland aims to demonstrate how the embrace of CWB can be a powerful aid to reach a just transition to net zero.

Report: Anchor Institutions
This report from the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto introduces anchor mission building, and also outlines practical initiatives through a number of helpful and detailed North American case studies of anchor missions in action, particularly in Toronto.

Resources: Guidance on community wealth building
The Scottish Land Commission have developed a report and sourced case studies on community wealth building. The report outlines practical actions that public bodies can use to manage land in the public interest productively. It argues that how we use our land is key to community wealth building, and forms one of five pillars of CWB, alongside finance, fair work, ownership, and spending.

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