Benefits for Whom? Comparison of Various Community Benefits Agreements

By Athena Last

In reaction to past failures to involve residents in the development process, Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) and Community Benefits Ordinances (CBOs) were developed as mechanisms to guarantee community inclusion and negotiation of incremental benefits from proposed projects. To examine the success of CBAs in providing benefits to the community, I will compare the strengths and weaknesses of different CBAs from cities in several Midwestern cities and/or majority African American urban areas. In addition, I will evaluate the CBAs based on some being developed on a project-by-project basis and others designed as a model, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or local ordinance. This assessment will provide additional guidance for the potential creation of a CBO in the City of Cleveland.

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