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RENEWING PEOPLE AND PLACES: INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENT POLICIES THAT ENHANCE SOCIAL CAPITAL AND IMPROVE THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT OF DISTRESSED COMMUNITIES

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ABSTRACT: 

The challenges confronting distressed communities in the United States are complex and multifaceted. Communities large and small have been significantly affected by a myriad of social, environmental, and economic forces, including a continuing decline in manufacturing employment, uncontrolled sprawl, and the transition to a global economy. The traditional choice between a “place-based” theory of redevelopment strategy versus a “people-focused” theory no longer seems feasible or appropriate. This article outlines sustainable development as an alternative strategy that combines a place-based development strategy, a human development focus, and an environmentally mindful approach. It posits that there exists a direct positive relationship between the creation of social capital, the redevelopment of the built environment utilizing sustainable development practices, and community-based organizations in distressed communities. Furthermore, the authors suggest that through community investment—a socially responsible investment strategy—institutions of higher education can facilitate the rebuilding of communities by providing financial capital while gaining a moderate yet secure financial return as well as a substantial social return.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Michigan State University

Publication date: 01 November 2006

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