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26 J. Affordable Hous. & Cmty. Dev. L. 63 (2017-2018)
Contracting for Complexity: Collective Impact Agreements in Community Economic Development

handle is hein.journals/jrlaff26 and id is 75 raw text is: 






   Contracting for Complexity: Collective
      Impact Agreements in Community

               Economic Development

                      Patience  A. Crowder


The full impact of the 2008 recession will not be known for years; how-
ever, its debilitating effect on state and local governments is clear. While
the Great Recession materialized differently in different states, state and
local governments suffering from financial anemia decimated their com-
munity and  economic development  programs. Compounded   by cuts in
spending at the federal level, shrinking philanthropic resources and prop-
erty tax revenue, and dormant housing and construction industries, state
and local governments froze or reduced spending on redevelopment proj-
ects and economic development programs. In an extreme case, California
shuttered its redevelopment agencies. In many instances, private indus-
tries behaved similarly. Along with the consequences of the foreclosure
crises, these shifts or cessations in spending led to devastating effects
on the funding of small business development programs, the availability
and new  construction of affordable housing, and the operation of job and
workforce training programs-all traditional arenas for community eco-
nomic  development (CED)  projects. Some state and local governments,
however, are beginning to creep out of shell shock to respond to the crisis
in innovative ways, and they are not isolated in their efforts because many
community  advocates are boldly leading the way. Most importantly, how-
ever, these advocates are doing so in ways that seek to cure the inequities
that have historically run through public programs. As the economy be-
gins to stabilize, the arousing of such programs necessitates a renewed
vigilance against inequity through the implementation of novel mecha-
nisms designed to alleviate poverty. While there are myriad ways to ap-
proach these outcomes, this presentation focuses on a transactional law
approach to poverty alleviation by exploring the potential of collective im-
pact, particularly collective impact agreements, to facilitate economic de-
velopment throughout metropolitan regions.
   Our metropolitan regions are places that house extreme social and eco-
nomic disparities. The 2008 recession aggravated the existing disparities
between  central cities and suburbs, and one of its legacies is the deep
expansion of poverty beyond  the boundaries of urban central cities-
increasing the number of suburban poor by as much  as 50 percent by
some  estimates. This changing geography of poverty has triggered a


   Patience A. Crowder (pcrowder@law.du.edu) is Associate Professor of Law & Di-
rector, Community Economic Development Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm
College of Law.


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