Community Benefits Agreement Cities – How They Work and Their Benefits
In recent years, community benefits agreement (CBA) cities have emerged as a promising strategy for promoting equitable development and preventing displacement in urban neighborhoods. A CBA is a legally binding agreement between developers and community organizations, which outlines the benefits that the developer will provide to the surrounding community in exchange for approval of their project.
The idea behind CBAs is to ensure that development projects benefit all members of the community, not just the developers and their investors. CBAs typically involve negotiations between developers and community representatives, with the goal of creating a win-win situation that meets the needs of both parties.
CBAs can cover a range of issues, including job creation, affordable housing, environmental sustainability, and public space. The specific terms of a CBA will vary depending on the needs and priorities of the community, as well as the size and scope of the development project.
CBA cities refer to cities that have adopted policies or regulations that require or encourage developers to enter into CBAs as a condition of approval for their projects. In the United States, CBA policies have been adopted in several major cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and New York City.
In New York City, for example, the 2019 Comprehensive Planning Process for East Harlem established a CBA that helped ensure that the rezoning of the area would benefit local residents. The CBA included commitments from the developer to create affordable housing, provide local hiring opportunities, and support small businesses.
The benefits of CBAs for communities are numerous. By negotiating a CBA, community organizations can ensure that developers contribute to the neighborhood in ways that are important to local residents. This can help prevent displacement of existing residents, by providing protections against skyrocketing housing costs or other economic pressures.
Additionally, CBAs can help promote economic development in under-resourced neighborhoods, by creating new jobs and supporting small businesses. CBAs can also ensure that development projects are environmentally sustainable, by requiring developers to implement green building practices and other environmentally-friendly features.
For developers, CBAs can offer several benefits as well. By working collaboratively with community organizations and local residents, developers can help foster positive relationships and build support for their projects. This can help reduce the risk of opposition or delays in the approval process, while also contributing to a more positive public image.
In conclusion, community benefits agreement cities offer a promising model for promoting equitable development and preventing displacement in urban neighborhoods. By harnessing the power of public-private partnerships, CBAs can ensure that development projects benefit all members of the community, while also providing economic benefits for developers. As cities continue to explore new strategies for promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, CBAs are likely to remain an important tool for advancing the interests of local residents and businesses alike.