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Fighting redevelopment: urban resistance, deliberative democracy, and community benefits agreements

Thu, November 7, 8:45 to 10:15am, Wyndham Philadelphia Hotel, FDR


A community benefits agreement (CBA) is an enforceable contract negotiated by a developer and a coalition of interests claiming to represent the community. The proliferation of CBAs within the US context over the last two decades can serve as a valuable tool in furnishing important insights into the state of American politics. Such agreements have become crucial instruments that local communities have employed as a means to an enhanced quality of life. But, although such agreements are intended to demand accountability from economic entities that are oftentimes themselves unaccountable to democratic pressures, does this mean that CBAs are intrinsically models of democratic inclusion? And at a broader level, do CBAs present a viable opportunity for greater democratic community control over local planning, or do their vulnerabilities render them unable to deliver on this possibility? This research seeks to better understand the processes that continue to shape urban redevelopment by posing important questions that are relevant to debates in both democratic theory and power.