Transforming Cities and Minds through the Scholarship of Engagement
Economy, Equity, and Environment
Publication Year: 2013
Across the country from Camden to Oakland, the contributors engaged with community partners--hospitals, churches, community development corporations, community foundations, and other rooted institutions--to help restore old cities to life. Their collaborative thesis project engaged them with one another and university staff; it may offer a new paradigm for graduate education.
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Table of Contents
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Both professionally and personally, this book represents the most rewarding experience of my academic career. This journey would not have been possible without the courage and wisdom of the students, staff, faculty, alumni, civic leaders, and residents with whom I have walked, stumbled and crawled, and climbed to new heights. It feels appropriate to begin by acknowledging the M.I.T. Community Inno-vators’ Lab (CoLab), especially its fearless leader, Dayna Cunningham. ...
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My first serious conversation with Lorlene Hoyt was my interview for the job of executive director of what was then called the Center for Reflective Community Practice (CRCP). CRCP was the predecessor to the M.I.T. Community Innovators’ Lab (CoLab), where she and I have partnered for the last five years. Until then, the inter-views had been very friendly, focused mainly on my fundraising experience and work in civic engagement. I had met Lorlene several times ...
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In September 2008, the country was in economic free fall. Hundreds of banks, large and small, were failing, corporations were filing for bankruptcy, and the stock market plunged. Thousands of Americans lost their jobs and their pensions. Families lost their homes to foreclosure. But for cities from Camden, New Jersey, to Kansas City, Missouri, to...
Part I: Engaging Economy
1. Strengthening Small Businesses: Strategies for Makin' a Way Where There Is No Way in Camden, New Jersey
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Dominican and Puerto Rican music pours out the doors of the Caribbean Mega Center, a small electronics store in Camden, New Jersey—a city known for its entrenched poverty, crime, and failing schools. The storefront lights and awning portray a brightly painted beach. José Marrera, the store’s owner, describes his place as...
2. Leveraging Rooted Institutions: A Strategy for Cooperative Economic Development in Cleveland, Ohio
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Cities like Camden, New Jersey, and Cleveland, Ohio, have their own unique histories and unique sets of problems. But among the undeniable commonalities is a persistent mindset that sees two distinct groups— small players versus large players, small businesses versus rooted institutions— dangerously overlooking the reality of one whole economic...
Part II: Engaging Equity
3. Concentrating Investment: A Strategy for Sustainable Development in Kansas City, Missouri
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In late March 2009, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri’s Fifth District hosted a meeting at the offices of the Mid-America Regional Council in downtown Kansas City. At that meeting, Congressman Cleaver presented his idea, soon to be known as the Green Impact...
4. Network Organizing: A Strategy for Manufacturing Recovery in Lawrence, Massachusetts
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As the economic crisis bore down on cities across the United States during the summer of 2009, the Boston Globe reported a particularly crippling effect on the small city of Lawrence, Massachusetts: ...
Part III: Engaging Environment
5. Citywide Retrofits: A Strategy for Creating Green Jobs in Oakland, California
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In the summer of 2009, the city council in Oakland, California, unanimously passed an Energy and Climate Action Plan, committing to slash greenhouse gas emissions to 36 percent below 2005 figures by 2020. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Oakland is nearly twice the national average, with 18 percent of residents living in poverty, and the vast...
6. Community/Labor/Utility Partnerships: A Social-Movement Organizing Strategy for Energy Efficiency in Massachusetts
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On July 14, 2009, hundreds of Boston residents filled the normally quiet halls of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to attend the bimonthly public meeting of the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council. The council was a newly created body, charged with overseeing state-regulated utility energy-efficiency programs. A year prior, in June 2008...
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Transforming Cities and Minds makes the case for a new epistemology known as reciprocal knowledge: development of knowledge and real learning on both sides, city and campus, achieved through a diverse, dynamic, and complex network of human relationships...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013