Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

ESSAY | Community Benefits Agreements

Linda has written an essay discussing the emergence of Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) in the USA with a view to considering their applicability to Australian urban development processes. The Equitable (or Responsible) Development movement has endeavoured to mitigate the impacts of urban development and gentrification on low income and disadvantaged communities. CBAs have enabled community coalitions to broker benefits for local communities and neighbourhoods. The essay considers the implications of this in the Australian development and planning system, proposing that the types of community benefits that are brokered through local authority and developer agreements do not have the same kind of impact that CBAs in the USA have had. A further consideration is that stakeholder engagement is a core pillar of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is largely underdeveloped in the urban development industry, and CBAs promote results that are consistent with CSR agendas. CBAs and Equitable Development present an opportunity for developers to enhance their corporate reputations while also delivering real benefits for disadvantaged and low income communities through pursuit of social inclusion objectives.

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