Strategies for Community Wealth + Innovation
Urbane Development is a community development venture and certified MBE based in New York City. Founded in 2008, Urbane cultivates innovative solutions to build dynamic neighborhoods and positively impact underserved communities. Urbane leverages the advantages of for-profit enterprise for community benefit by focusing on strategies that generate wealth and resource capacity for communities. We specialize in helping entrepreneurs and anchor institutions in underserved communities take their businesses and organizations to the next level. This is our strategy for creating local wealth and a way to begin to address the social inequity caused by a failure in the marketplace to provide quality, affordable goods and services in dynamic, diverse, but underserved communities.
Since 2008, Urbane has worked in more than 35 urban and rural communities to develop solutions to entrenched challenges. The team has worked with over 1,000 small businesses, representing over 1.1 million square feet of commercial and community facility space. Urbane has helped raise over $55 million to help small business, commercial projects, and community development initiatives in low-income areas with the goal of promoting internal wealth generation. Urbane consults on projects throughout North America and co-develops mixed-use real estate, primarily in the NYC Metro Area.
Theory of Change
:: why “underserved communities”
We envision neighborhoods that are defined by their strengths and experienced as places of opportunity and innovation. We choose to work with underserved communities because where others perceive blight, decay and lack of resources; we see vast potential for growth and prosperity. Underserved urban and rural areas contain substantial market potential – emerging markets on par with any developing global market. Perhaps more importantly, these communities offer an incredible reservoir of untapped talent. Scarcity of traditional services and amenities fosters fertile ground for localized innovation, creativity, and thought-leadership. For Urbane, the chance to collaborate and invest in underserved communities is a no-brainer.
:: why “venture”
We feel there is an investment model mismatch occurring in underserved communities. Service-based interventions often target an area’s social ills without tackling the root cause, which is the lack of concentrated wealth. Market-based efforts tend to be extract community assets, finding resource arbitrage opportunities in underserved markets without circulating those benefits and wealth back through those communities.
Urbane utilizes a venture model to marshal financial and human capital investment to community anchor institutions that have shown a commitment for and an operating model tailored to the underserved communities they serve. We seek to leverage the advantages of for-profit enterprise for community benefit by focusing on innovative, bottom-line-sensitive strategies that generate wealth and resource capacity for our clients and their communities.
:: why “anchor institutions”
We focus our work on small businesses and other locally entrenched institutions – particularly independent retailers, schools, community and faith-based groups – because their placement as community anchors offers unparalleled market insight and influence coupled with their unique positioning in underserved markets as powerful, positive agents for change.
We provide our clients with market intelligence and analytics, customized program development, and technical assistance platforms that create value for their enterprises and communities.
A short list of our core competencies includes:
* Community and Stakeholder Engagement
* Market Analytics and Consumer Insights
* Mixed-Method Research and Data Collection
* Business and Workforce Development + Technical Assistance
* Public-Private Partnerships and Anchor Institution Partnerships
* Project and Site Feasibility Studies (Residential, Retail, Commercial, and Manufacturing Uses)
* Economic Impact Analysis, Pro Forma Development, and Financial and Sales Forecasting
* Supply Chain Logistics, Infrastructure, and Technology for Small Business
* Real Estate Advisory Services for Affordable Housing and Mixed-Use Developers
* Co-Development Capacity for Mixed-Use Projects
Our services are organized along a continuum of planning, design, implementation and evaluation – with the ultimate goal of helping clients get from point A to point B with the greatest efficiency, effectiveness, and impact.