September 16, 2020

Abstract: In “Changing the Narrative and Playbook on Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty”, authors Edward Goetz, Anthony Damiano, and Rashad Williams, challenge pervasive deficit-based narratives in public policy and research that posit low-income, racially concentrated areas, or Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty (RECAPs) as the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development has termed them, as essentially deficient and requiring strategies that would disperse and transform their economic and racial composition. The authors examine traditional approaches to community development and identify the flaws inherent in so-called mobility strategies. They use the case study of an advocacy group in Minnesota to explore the ways in which community assets can be centered to empower grassroots solutions that are not reliant on mobility or gentrification. The essay examines how to shift policy by illuminating long-standing bias and putting the focus on inequitable systems and segregation in affluent White communities. The essay shares implications for how actors at the levels of policy, research, and community can work towards fundamentally altering how community development in RECAPs is discussed and practiced.

Read the Goetz, Damiano, and Williams essay

This essay is published as part of a volume titled, What Works to Promote Inclusive, Equitable Mixed-Income Communities, edited by Dr. Mark L. Joseph and Dr. Amy T. Khare, with developmental editing support provided by Leila Fiester. Production is led by the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities (NIMC) at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, with lead funding provided by The Kresge Foundation. The volume aims to equip a broad audience of policymakers, funders, practitioners, community activists, and researchers with the latest thinking and tools needed to achieve more inclusive and equitable mixed-income communities. This is the fifth volume in the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s What Works series, which has sought to analyze a variety of key themes in urban development.

Read more of the What Works series