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Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Reclaiming Your Community: You Don't Have to Move Out of Your Neighborhood to Live in a Better One

Reclaiming Your Community: You Don't Have to Move Out of Your Neighborhood to Live in a Better One

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Majora Carter shows how brain drain cripples low-status communities and maps out a development strategy focused on talent retention to help them break out of economic stagnation.

My musical, In the Heights, explores issues of community, gentrification, identity and home, and the question: Are happy endings only ones that involve getting out of your neighborhood to achieve your dreams? In her refreshing new book, Majora Carter writes about these issues with great insight and clarity, asking us to re-examine our notions of what community development is and how we invest in the futures of our hometowns. This is an exciting conversation worth joining."
--Lin-Manuel Miranda

How can we solve the problem of persistent poverty in low-status communities? Majora Carter argues that these areas need a talent-retention strategy, just like the ones companies have. Retaining homegrown talent is a critical part of creating a strong local economy that can resist gentrification. But too many people born in low-status communities measure their success by how far away from them they can get.

Carter, who could have been one of them, returned to the South Bronx and devised a development strategy rooted in the conviction that these communities have the resources within themselves to succeed. She advocates measures such as

- Building mixed-income instead of exclusively low-income housing to create a diverse and robust economic ecosystem
- Showing homeowners how to maximize the long-term value of their property so they won't succumb to quick-cash offers from speculators
- Keeping people and dollars in the community by developing vibrant "third spaces"--restaurants, bookstores, and places like Carter's own Boogie Down Grind Cafe

This is a profoundly personal book. Carter writes about her brother's murder, how turning a local dumping ground into an award-winning park opened her eyes to the hidden potential in her community, her struggles as a woman of color confronting the "male and pale" real estate and nonprofit establishments, and much more. It is a powerful rethinking of poverty, economic development, and the meaning of success.

Author: Majora Carter
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Published: 02/01/2022
Pages: 216
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.75lbs
Size: 8.90h x 5.90w x 0.60d
ISBN: 9781523000296

About the Author
Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, MacArthur Fellow and Peabody Award-winning broadcaster from the South Bronx area of New York City. Carter founded and led the nonprofit environmental justice solutions corporation Sustainable South Bronx from 2001 onward before entering the private sector in 2008 with the Majora Carter Group. In 2017, she launched the Boogie Down Grind, a hip-hop-themed specialty coffee and craft beer spot and the first commercial third space in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx since the mid-1980s.

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