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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


A contemporary urban renaissance is bringing new residents into cities across the United States and is spurring significant economic development in previously downtrodden urban communities. As dramatic change sweeps across America’s cities, many of those communities’ long-term, low-income residents of color are left out of the decision-making process by which their neighborhoods are transformed. This paper identifies the shortcomings of privatism – a prevalent practice in contemporary urban development which encourages local governments to rely on and to subsidize private enterprise. The paper further explores the merits of the equitable development movement as a progressive response to the failures of privatism to produce positive outcomes for vulnerable populations. Washington, DC’s Shaw community serves as an example of America’s changing urban landscape, and its community organization ONE DC provides a useful illustration of equitable development principles in practice.

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