Tuesday, 17 Aug 2021  |  Reading time:  13 mins  | Read online

Welcome to the Global Local newsletter from LGIU!

Each week we’ll focus on a different global topic, highlighting innovative content and insights from LGIU and our members around the world.  

Community wealth building

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How can councils work more closely with key civic institutions to ensure growth proceeds are distributed more equitably among the people who live and work in an area? Community wealth building is an emerging economic development paradigm focused on using elected local governments as key conveners and shapers of their local economies. At its furthest edge, it could be described as municipal socialism, with a focus on shared community assets and putting more power into the hands of workers, particularly those on the ‘front line’. More moderately, it can be framed as a way of ensuring the benefits of development and economic activity stay local and sustainable.

The community wealth building approach is gaining popularity in the US and UK and is making inroads in Canada and Australia. For example, a London (UK) borough has appointed a director level lead for community wealth building. But, true to their localist leanings, each council is taking a slightly different approach. Some are starting small, focusing on their own procurement, while others are re-imagining themselves as community platforms for growth. This week’s Global Local looks at these different approaches to community wealth building in advance of our LGIU and VLGA event on Thursday 19 August.

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This week's featured content

Global Local Executive Panel – August 2021:
Community Wealth Building

By LGIU and VLGA (Victorian Local Governance Association)

LGIU and VLGA (Victorian Local Governance Association) bring you our latest Global Local Executive Panel session.

Moderated by Chris Eddy and VLGA CEO Kathryn Arndt, the panel will discuss community wealth building from their own varied perspectives and explore how local governments in both Australia and Scotland are utilising community wealth building initiatives, creating a fairer, more sustainable economy and directing wealth back into local communities. There will also be a Q&A session at the end.

Craig Hatton, CEO, North Ayrshire Council, Scotland
Monica Barone, CEO, City of Sydney, Australia
Patrick Fensham, Principal & Partner, SGS Economics and Planning, Australia

When? Thursday 19 August, 17:30 AEST / 08:30 BST
Where? Virtual via Zoom
How much? Free for LGIU and VLGA members!
(AUS $27.50 / GBP £14.50 for non members)

LGIU Global Local Highlights


Bundle: Community wealth building
Ahead of the event this Thursday, find out more about our panellists' approaches to community wealth building and how this method can be used by local authorities to support economic recovery from the pandemic. 
Read our content here.

Event series: Global Local Executive Panels
We're working with global partners to bring you regularly scheduled panel events, featuring executive speakers from local government across the countries we work in and beyond. 
Revisit our previous panels and find out how to take part here.

Sustainable Futures: Community wealth building
In Britain, the richest six individuals have a combined fortune equal to that of the 13 million poorest. The pandemic brutally illuminated this wealth inequality. This briefing provides an introduction to community wealth building and examples of how it has been put into practice in the UK. 
Read the briefing here.

Innovation & Inspiration

Curated case studies and news from around the globe

AUSTRALIA: Highly successful Darwin voucher scheme recognised and rewarded

The “myDarwin” initiative received two awards at the 2021 Municipal Association of Victoria Technology National Awards for Excellence earlier this year. The City of Darwin and Northern Territory Government launched the $40 voucher scheme last year to incentivise spending at local businesses and assist economic recovery. In total, the scheme injected more than $6 million into the local economy across seven funding rounds. Similar initiatives were adopted by four other NT councils and the ACT Government, while Dublin City Council expressed interest in the scheme. The council won ‘Australian Achievement of the Year’ and ‘Smart City Achievement of the Year’ at the awards and was highly commended in the ‘Digital Leadership of the Year’ category.
Australasian Leisure Management / NT News

Related: ‘Boston Point’ cash discounts offered for shopping at locally-owned businesses through City of Boston’s B-Local app trial Boston.com / Christopher Gavin

USA: Abandoned houses renovated by City not-for-profit

More than 100 vacant or abandoned properties have been transformed into a saleable and liveable state through the City of Rochester’s Rochester Land Bank Corp. Over a third of the transformed properties were sold to low-or-moderate-income buyers through partnerships with local nonprofits. As well as increasing access to affordable housing, the Land Bank aims to improve the safety and amenity of local neighbourhoods by stopping buildings from falling into a state of disrepair. The moratorium on municipal tax foreclosure auctions has made it more difficult for the Land Bank to acquire properties in the last year, so it is looking for new ways to gain income and become self-sufficient.
Rochester Beacon / Mike Costanza

Related: Chicago pilot promotes equitable transit access for inclusive developments City-wide City of Chicago

UK: Reimagined ‘Bristol Pay’ to direct transaction fees towards local projects

An online payment platform that would use transaction fees to fund environmental and social projects is being developed as a more modern and inclusive local currency for Bristol. The proposed ‘Bristol Pay’ platform could also involve digital tokens, earned by residents for saving water, volunteering or cycling, which would contribute to a lottery or support local social enterprises. Businesses could earn digital badges for paying the living wage or reducing their environmental impact. Previous local currency, the Bristol Pound, was used in £1 million annual transactions at its peak. Paper Bristol Pounds expire next month after a usage decline and funding issues.
Cities Today / Sarah Wray

Related: Civic Dollars app rewarding residents for park walks piloted by Belfast City Council Cities Today / Sarah Wray

CANADA: Opportunities and challenges for smaller towns looking to build community wealth highlighted in report

A report seeking to inform and inspire rural, small and mid-sized communities interested in community wealth building was recently published by two Windsor-Essex County organisations. Different community benefit models from the USA, UK and Canada are set out, along with social procurement strategies from diverse communities across Canada. The report addresses, challenges and at times debunks perceived constraints to community wealth building for smaller communities, including culture, capacity and complexity. Best practice Canadian case studies are included, from a ‘Workplace Inclusion Charter’ in the City of Kingston, Ontario, to a solar-powered library in the Town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, called “The People’s Place.”
Windsor Star / Taylor Campbell

Related: US ‘Community Navigator’ pilot viewed as way to connect and strengthen BIPOC businesses Nonprofit Quarterly / Gary Cunningham

Policy & Resources

We’ve had a look at what think tanks across the globe have been saying about community wealth building. Here are some notable recent outputs:

UK: ‘The Wealth Within: the “Preston Model” and the new municipalism’
This Demos report looks at the empirical evidence for Preston’s approach to community wealth building and how it’s worked for them. The June 2019 report also sets out a series of recommendations for national governments to replicate the success in Preston, including more fiscal freedoms. Read the report here

USA: ‘From Seed to Root: Early State Strategies for Community Wealth Building in US Cities’
The Mayors Innovation Project and COWS, a think-and-do tank based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published a 2020 report full of case studies of community wealth building strategies in American cities from Detroit to Nashville, including key takeaways and best practices from each example. Read the full report here.

THE NETHERLANDS: ‘The Future is Public: Democratic Ownership of Public Services’
The Transnational Institute (TNI) published a draft paper ahead of its conference on this theme in December 2019, featuring case studies and striking infographics showing more than 1,400 (re)municipalisations of public services across the globe from 2009 to 2019. In early 2020, the TNI published a conference report highlighting steps to building a democratic economy. The TNI is based in Amsterdam but was originally established by a US think tank.

USA: ‘The emerging solidarity economy: A primer on community ownership of real estate’
Focused more on the community ownership of land, the Brookings Institution published this report last month, which outlines different models of community ownership and looks at how these approaches can create more resilient households and cities and fairer economies. 

Interested in other LGIU Global content?

Global Local Community Champion: Nominations open for Cllr Awards 2021

The LGIU & CCLA Cllr Awards ceremony showcases the achievements of councillors that so often goes unrecognised. Annually, we call for nominations for those councillors who have stepped up to the plate during extraordinary circumstances to deliver for their communities. 

This year, we are delighted to introduce a new award category that is open to elected local government representatives from across the globe.

The Global Local Community Champion will be an elected member from outside of England, Scotland or Wales who has worked tirelessly over the last year to bring residents’ voices into council decision-making, support their projects and ideas, and bridge diverse opinions within the community.

Thanks for reading!

Next week, we're putting a spotlight on New Zealand and Australia. We'll examine how wellbeing strategies are being put into practice in New Zealand and highlight innovative local responses in these countries to globally pertinent issues. With both countries (and many others) facing issues around widespread Covid-19 vaccination uptake, we'll showcase best practice initiatives by local governments globally to improve vaccine access, information and incentives.

Want us to cover a topic? Get in touch!

If you would like to share your story, you can fill in this simple form or drop me a line at ingrid.koehler@lgiu.org. Please forward this free newsletter to a colleague or share it on social media to help us reach even more people who value local government globally. We tweet from @GlobalLocalLGIU.

Want more content? Visit our website to access our Global Local briefings, blogs, podcast and more.

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