Owning Main Street: Three Finance Innovations for Community Control of Development

Practical visionaries Penn Loh

Allison Curtis, October 2018

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Summary :

Cooperative investment in real estate development and collective ownership of local businesses are just two ways that communities are trying to exert control over their main streets. Boston Ujima Project, which is building a community investment fund, is taking democratic control one step further by running a participatory budgeting process among its members to decide how to allocate their capital fund. These three projects are examples of community-based financing and cooperative ownership, particularly to support businesses that have community value but lack access to capital. These attempts to “own Main Street” are each described in further detail below.

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