10.23.2012 | If you want to learn about the history of community development–what has worked, what hasn’t, and why– as well as where the field needs to go, check out this new book, Investing in What Works in America’s Communities.
Produced by the Low Income Investment Fund and the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, the book is a collection of essays by leaders in the field, both practitioner and academic. The ideas are not run-of-the-mill. They truly push the field forward, with a rich understanding of where the field has been, and a vision for where it can go.
The assembly of talent and innovators in this volume adds a depth and breadth to the “idea” of community development that is rare. Read the opening essay by Harvard University’s Alexander Von Hoffman and the essay by Peter Edelman on poverty in America, and you’ll come away with a newfound understanding of not only poverty and its ties to community, but by our decades of efforts to stamp it out and why it still persists. In an election year of glib soundbites, it’s a refreshing immersion into a complex and difficult issue.
The remaining essays offer dozens of innovative ideas for creating opportunities to America’s struggling communities. It also includes three essays by current Cabinet Secretaries: Shaun Donovan, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Arne Duncan, Department of Education; and Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services.
As the National Housing Conference wrote of the book:
“Investing in What Works for America’s Communities” provides a glimpse into a future where communities are more sustainable, more resilient and more resistant to economic downturns. Through dozens of examples of innovative thinking and descriptions of what is already working, this book uncovers new ways of working and thinking that will help create the “entrepreneurial” approach to development.”
The book will have an official launch in December, but in the meantime, the chapters are all online, for free download.