‘Knight Cities’ podcast: How communities can benefit when big developments move in

Knight Cities podcast

When big development comes to a neighborhood, how can the neighbors benefit?

It’s a thorny question that communities are trying to address with all sorts of new legal, financial and taxing mechanisms.  One such mechanism is a Community Benefits Agreement.

Ralph Rosado is an expert on the subject, particularly when agreements are used for affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization. He is president of Rosado and Associates and a fellow at the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University. He has a forthcoming book on the subject, to be published by Penn Press.

Here are five things you should know from my conversation with Ralph on the “Knight Cities” podcast:

1.       Community Benefits Agreements are accords that neighborhood and other kinds of community groups enter into with developers of big, disruptive projects.

2.       For all the talk of these agreements, there have been only 50 or so adopted in the past 15 years.

3.       Community Benefit Agreements are not about blocking projects. They are about neighborhoods (or interest groups) saying, we are OK with a version of this project, as long as the developer provides certain offsetting benefits to our neighborhood.

4.       Common requests include hiring locals and providing living wages, affordable housing, park space and apprenticeships.

5.       Local and state government have two things they can use to incentivize development:  money and regulatory power. These agreements add conditions to ensure the public benefits from incentives – not just the developer.

Listen to my conversation with Ralph here. And sign up for the “Knight Cities” newsletter to get alerts as soon as new conversations are posted.

Look for new “Knight Cities” content posted every week. You can follow us on Twitter at #knightcities or @knightfdn. And if you have ideas for people you’d like to hear from, please email me.

Carol Coletta is vice president of community and national initiatives at Knight Foundation. Follow her on Twitter @ccoletta.