Paper

Innovative Approaches to Low-Carbon Urban Systems: A Case Study of Vancouver's Neighbourhood Energy Utility

Marc Lee
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

The City of Vancouver's Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU) is a low-carbon urban system that hits a sweet spot of clean energy, local control, and stable prices at competitive rates. The NEU has environmental and economic attributes that could be replicated in other cities (and it is already having an influence in other parts of Metro Vancouver). A key challenge is upfront capital costs, which could be ameliorated by senior government support and through the development of green bonds. But the NEU case also shows how a public utility model can be developed for low-carbon district energy, even in the absence of subsidies. 

Verde and Living Cully: A Venture in Placemaking

Noah Enelow and Taylor Hesselgrave
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

This case study profiles Verde, an innovative nonprofit organization based in the highly diverse, low- income Cully neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Verde’s mission is to pursue environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach, and advocacy. It fulfills its mission through operating three social enterprises, developing Living Cully, a neighborhood-wide coalition to fight displacement of low-income residents and residents of color due to gentrification, and advocating for preferential hiring and contracting policies for low-income people and people of color, across public and private sectors. 

Women As Economic Providers: Dual-Earner Families Thrive As Women’s Earnings Rise

Kristin Smith
University of New Hampshire

Analysis of Current Population Survey data for 2000 and 2013 shows that dual-earner couples have higher family incomes than sole-earner married couples or single women with or without children. Of di erent family types, married couples in which the husband is the primary earner (the husband earns 60 percent or more of total family earnings) had the highest median family income in 2013 ($101,000), followed closely by married couples in which both spouses had similar earnings ($98,000). In contrast, single mothers with children had the lowest median family income ($30,000). In addition, family income rose among dual-earner couples primarily due to an increase in these wives’ earnings, but declined among sole-earner married-couple and single-women families from 2000 to 2013, contributing to increased inequality.

The Future Economy: An Annotated Analytical Framework for Case Studies

Kristen Sheeran, Frank Ackerman, Noah Enelow, Eban Goodstein, Robin Hahnel, Thomas Michael Power and Juliet Schor
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

The purpose of this framework is to provide a coherent structure for analyzing economic innovations. The framework encourages researchers to adopt a mixed-methods approach that involves both careful, qualitative descriptions of the structure, functions and activities of the innovation, as well as quantitative analysis of the innovation’s impacts on both its stakeholders and the larger community in which it is located. 

The Future Economy: Synthesis and Lessons Learned from Six Case Studies

Robin Hahnel, Noah Enelow, Eban Goodstein, Thomas Michael Power and Juliet Schor
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

Many see “business-as-usual” (BAU) economics (Schor 2010) failing us in ever more ways: Inequality of income and wealth continues to increase, financial crises and recessions are increasingly problematic, and critical ecosystems are being destabilized. But at the same time, we see more and more economic initiatives that deviate from BAU in important ways: They tend to share a commitment to positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes. Related campaigns and positive press have worked to increase popular awareness about these non- traditional efforts while providing needed encouragement and support. Economics for Equity and the Environment (the E3 Network) wanted to bring these developments to the attention of economists who have largely ignored them and begin the process of studying “future economy initiatives” in a more systematic and scientific way. We sought to understand the histories of these initiatives, evaluate their impacts, and assess their potential for scaling and replication, thereby forging the foundations of a future economy. 

Online Platforms for Exchanging and Sharing Goods

Anders Fremstad
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

This case study evaluates the economic, social, and environmental effects of three online platforms. Craigslist provides an online market for local secondhand goods such as vehicles, furniture, appliances, and electronics. Couchsurfing matches travelers with hosts around the world who welcome guests into their homes. NeighborGoods helps people borrow and lend household goods free of charge. Together these case studies provide an overview of the role of online platforms as future economy initiatives. 

Development in Cleveland through the Multi-Anchor Model

Julia Poznik, Jonathan Ramse and Ruchira Sen
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

This case study evaluates the success of the Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI) in meeting its goals using the Future Economy Analytical Framework developed by the E3 Network. Through personal interviews and secondary research, we have evaluated whether the GUCI has the potential to create a new, more equitable and more sustainable way to localize work and life. A network analysis was implemented to aid us in the study of power dynamics between the organizations comprising the GUCI. All of these methods allow us to draw conclusions about the resilience and replicability of the GUCI and about the achievements and limitations of the multi-anchor model as it has been implemented in Cleveland. 

Hospital Community Benefits after the ACA

Cynthia H. Woodcock and Gayle D. Nelson

Leveraging hospital community benefit policy to improve community health

A Case to End US Hunger Using Collaboration to Improve Population Health

Randy Oostra

Over the last 50 years, every U.S. president has worked, in some fashion, to address healthcare spending while improving the fundamental healthcare conditions for those in need. As healthcare leaders we often think in terms of three- to ve-year plans. But if we think about the next 50 years, it brings into question ‘what’ and ‘how’ the investments we’re making now in our communities — whether new facilities, programs or initiatives — will impact the public by 2064. 

Diversity in Health Care: Examples from the Field

Health Research & Educational Trust

Diversity is becoming a key word in health care. Hospitals and health care systems are focusing on providing care that addresses the diversity of their patient populations. To better care for diverse patient populations, hospitals are working to increase the diversity of their leadership team, board and staff. And many hospital teams are building a culture of diversity and inclusion, to better engage all employees and provide high-quality, equitable care for all patients. 

Diversity in Health Care: Examples from the Field

Health Research & Educational Trust

Diversity is becoming a key word in health care. Hospitals and health care systems are focusing on providing care that addresses the diversity of their patient populations. To better care for diverse patient populations, hospitals are working to increase the diversity of their leadership team, board and staff. And many hospital teams are building a culture of diversity and inclusion, to better engage all employees and provide high-quality, equitable care for all patients. 

The Church of Economism and Its Discontents

Richard Norgaard

Two centuries of explosive economic growth have radically altered our material and ideological worlds. With human activity now the major driver of geological change, the industrial era has come to be called the Anthropocene. This inquiry instead adopts the term Econocene, underscoring its ideological foundation: economism. The concept of economism, the reduction of all social relations to market logic, often appears in critiques of political movements and neoliberal economics. Our concern here is with economism as a widely held system of faith. This modern “religion” is essential for the maintenance of the global market economy, for justifying personal decisions, and for explaining and rationalizing the cosmos we have created. This uncritical economic creed has colonized other disciplines, including ecology, as ecologists increasingly rely on economistic logic to rationalize the protection of ecosystems. More broadly, economism often works syncretically with the world’s religions even though it violates so many of their basic tenets. A Great Transition is needed to replace economism with an equally powerful and pervasive belief system that embraces the values of solidarity, sustainability, and well-being for all. 

Wealth Inequalities in Greater Boston: Do Race and Ethnicity Matter?

Tatjana Meschede, Darrick Hamilton, Ana Patricia Muñoz, Regine Jackson and William Darity Jr.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

The Role of Anchor Institutions in Restoring Neighborhoods

Janet Viveiros and Lisa Sturtevant
Anchor institutions, such as hospitals and universities, can be important catalysts for urban economic and community development. They can take on a variety of roles—from community infrastructure builder to purchaser of local goods and services to developer of real estate. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nonprofit hospitals and other health care institutions have new obligations and opportunities to embrace their role as community anchors by pursuing activities that focus on addressing the comprehensive health needs in their communities. In the years to come, health care institutions can become more actively involved in supporting the development of safe, decent and affordable housing, a key social determinant of health. This brief describes those opportunities and provides specific guidance for how affordable housing and community development organizations can successfully partner with anchor institutions to improve neighborhoods and expand housing opportunities.

Participatory Budgeting: Next Generation Democracy

This new white paper from the Participatory Budgeting Project discusses how governments can use participatory budgeting (PB) as a tool to foster civic participation, ensure more accountable and fair decision-making processes, and develop innovative policy solutions. The paper provides a broad overview of how PB works and highlights successes from the more than 3,000 PB efforts implemented across the United States. The paper includes perspectives from: New York City, where low-income residents represented 40 percent of participants in PB processes (compared with 29 percent for previous local elections); Boston, which has developed a youth-led PB process; and Greensboro, North Carolina, the first PB effort in the American south.

The Racial Wealth Gap: Narrowing the Racial Wealth Gap through Business Ownership

Joyce Klein and Jenna Liang

While business ownership is seen as a vehicle for wealth building, research from the Asset Funders Network finds that Latino and African American business owners are frequently excluded from this opportunity. With lower levels of family wealth to invest, lower levels of experience in family-owned businesses, and limited access to markets, the wealth gap continues. To reduce disparities, the Asset Funders Network calls on philanthropic funders to direct investment toward cooperatively owned businesses and CDFIs and to support policy efforts that direct public resources and contracting opportunities to CDFIs and business owned by people of color.

Cooperatives in Minneapolis: An inventory and assessment

Emily Anderson and Tom Pierson

Published by the City of Minneapolis’ Office of Community Planning and Economic Development, this report inventories and assesses worker, consumer, and producer cooperatives in Minneapolis. The authors find access to start-up capital and real estate, as well as a dearth of knowledge on cooperative governance structures and city regulations, as some of the most common challenges facing the development of cooperatives in the city. To minimize these barriers, the authors recommend creating a cooperative technical assistance network and investing in cooperative education for city employees