“Our cities are facing unprecedented challenges, and new perspectives are needed to solve them. The field of urban planning must evolve to develop a new vision of resiliency that includes environment, economy, and equity.” Majora Carter, Urban Revitalization Strategy Consultant, joined a recent Neuehouse event featuring Andrew Yang, 2021 NYC Mayoral Candidate; and Daniel Sundlin, Partner, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). You can watch the full discussion here.
Even though the topic was urban planning and New York City, so many of the concepts touched on apply to rural areas like southern Vermont which is why we are so excited to have Majora Carter as a keynote speaker at this year’s Southern Vermont Economy Summit. For instance, Carter spoke to a concept we’ve been helping communities and non-profits learn about; how community members can be their own “developers”. Carter believes we need to redefine and expand the definition of what being a developer means to us. By empowering community members we can instill equity into the community, ensuring investment benefits community members, and that change is guided by those who know their communities the best.
Carter’s comment relates directly to the work that the Town of Rockingham and BDCC’s Southern Vermont Economy Project is implementing with the help of the Incremental Development Alliance. The project addresses the small developer ecosystem and the hurdles created by anything from limited access to financing, to the complexity of navigating regulations and processes. IDA also provides training for community members to become small-scale developers in their own community! BDCC helped put on a statewide IDA Small Developer Seminar and supported training for non-profit leaders working to create equitable and sustainable development in Rockingham, Brattleboro, Rupert, Guilford, and Bennington.
One of the most important takeaways from their small-scale developer training is to start small. People tend to think of radical change and new projects when someone says development. However, development can be as simple as a pop-up tent or a food cart. It’s a renovated home or sidewalk and bike safety improvements. The IDA goal is to help community members start small and effect change in ways that achieve the community’s vision, not someone else’s.
Ultimately, the biggest aha moment taken from the Neuehouse discussion was how far the Southern Vermont Economy Summit has come. Each year, the BDCC and BCRC summit team work hard to expand our audience and provide bigger and better speakers, sessions, and workshops in order to expand our economic development vision and toolkit. The fact that a 2021 keynote speaker was part of a discussion that included former Presidential Candidate and current NYC Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang is a pretty cool realization at the end of this deep dark winter!
Please be sure to join us for the Southern Vermont Economy Summit, happening May 12th-14th. We’re going all virtual this year, so you can attend as many sessions and speakers as you wish, from the comfort of your own office or home. The first 50 registrants will receive a SoVermont hat!
About the Southern Vermont Economy Summit
The Southern Vermont Economy Summit is an initiative of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Southern Vermont Economy Project (SVEP). SVEP works to stabilize, improve and expand the rural economic and workforce development network in Southern Vermont. Its goal is to increase capacity and collaboration among partnering organizations and communities. SVEP is funded by the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative, as a program of BDCC & SeVEDS. For more information on the summit, please visit: www.SoVermontZone.com/summit
About the Southern Vermont Economy Project
The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Southern Vermont Economy Project provides training and technical assistance to increase local capacity, skills, and resources in order to advance local projects critical to Southern Vermont achieving community, economic, and workforce development goals. In its second round of funding by the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative, SVEP 2.0 partners include; the Towns of Rockingham, Brattleboro and Bennington; the Windham Regional Commission; Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies; Bennington County Regional Commission; Bennington County Industrial Corporation; Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment Inc.; and Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation. For more information please visit: https://brattleborodevelopment.com/svep/