Community economic development in the inner city, Lord Selkirk Economic Development Project

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Irvin-Ross, Kerri L.
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Inner city communities have been victims of economic trends and public policy such as globalization and privatization. Present policy decisions have resulted in the underdevelopment of inner city communities, which are characterized by poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, crime, and family violence. Community economic development (CED) initiatives encourage communities to approach these issues utilizing comprehensive strategies that address the systemic economic and social conditions contributing to their underdevelopment. A lite ature review and a qualitative research project were developed to investigate the role of private businesses in the revitalization of inner city communities. Principals of forty-one businesses from the North End were interviewed with a closed and open-ended questionnaire that covered information about local ownership, employment, local purchases, business climate, and suggestions for revitalization. The findings concluded that business owners were a valuable resource for the redevelopment of the community because of their knowledge of the area, business expertise, and community interest. Barriers of time, role confusion, and differing value systems create challenges to engage business owners as partners successfully. CED is a positive method of strengthening the local economy by promoting partnerships among community stakeholders, developing linkages, and restoring the political power of community residents.